October 24, 2007
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF APPLICATION FOR FIREARMS PURCHASER IDENTIFICATION CARD AND APPLICATION TO PURCHASE HANDGUNS OF NELSON MANSO.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. GP2005-08-0024.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 15, 2007
Before Judges Collester and C.S. Fisher.
On May 10, 2005, appellant Nelson Manso applied to the Keansburg Police Department for a firearms purchase identification card and a handgun permit. The application was denied and, following a hearing, the Law Division judge rejected Manso's appeal.
Manso appealed the Law Division judge's order, presenting the following arguments for our consideration:
I. THE LOWER COURT'S FINDING DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE DENIAL OF APPELLANT'S APPLICATION.
II. THE LOWER COURT FAILED TO FOLLOW PROCEDURE FOR THE APPEAL HEARING AS ESTABLISHED BY STATUTE AND WESTON.*fn1
We find insufficient merit in these arguments to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A). We add only the following brief comments.
N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3 provides that such credentials may be issued to an applicant who is "of good character and good repute in the community in which he lives" and who is not subject to any other statutory disability. When denied by the local chief of police, as here, the disappointed applicant may seek review in the superior court. N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(d). The Law Division judge's review of the denial of the application is de novo. In re Osworth, 365 N.J. Super. 72, 77 (App. Div. 2003), certif. denied, 179 N.J. 310 (2004). In considering whether there was good cause for the denial, the judge is to give appropriate consideration to the police chief's "investigative experience." Weston, supra, 60 N.J. at 46.
In his application, Manso acknowledged that he had been arrested in 1997 for an unpaid ticket and in 2001 for a driving while under the influence charge. However, Manso falsely denied he had "ever been convicted of a disorderly persons offense," and failed to disclose he had been convicted of disorderly persons offenses on two separate occasions in 1996. Both convictions were for simple assault. In addition, the record reveals that, in 2001, Manso was charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats; he was found guilty of violating a local ordinance.
The record also contains evidence of Manso's appalling driving record. He amassed forty-three violations between 1991 and 2004, including a conviction for driving while intoxicated, and his driving privileges were suspended on numerous occasions. The experienced trial judge observed that Manso's "motor vehicle abstract is the longest, worst I have ever seen."
The judge rejected Manso's appeal. He cited the misrepresentations of material facts in Manso's application regarding the disorderly persons convictions, and concluded that "it would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare for Mr. Manso to have a gun permit."
The applicable standard limits our review of the judge's decision to a determination of whether "the facts are reasonably supported by the record in its entirety." State v. Freysinger, 311 N.J. Super. 509, 515 (App. Div. 1998). After careful examination, we conclude that the judge's findings were amply supported by the record and are entitled to our deference. And the grounds cited by the judge -- namely, the false statements in Manso's application and the justified conclusion that it would not be in the public's interest to allow Manso to have these credentials -- are permitted reasons for denying the relief sought by the appellant. See N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(3)(no person may obtain such credentials who "knowingly falsifies any information on the application form . . ."), and N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5)(no person may obtain such credentials "where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare").