July 22, 2010
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF ROLAND STRATEN FOR APPEAL OF DENIAL OF APPLICATION FOR A PERMIT TO CARRY A HANDGUN.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 6, 2010
Before Judges Lisa and Fuentes.
Appellant Roland Straten, a resident of the Township of Montclair, applied for a permit to carry a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4. The Chief of the Montclair Police Department denied his application, finding that he had not shown a justifiable need to carry a handgun. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed the Chief's determination. Appellant now seeks a reversal of the court's decision. We affirm.
Although he resides in Montclair, appellant owns property in the City of Paterson and operates a business from that location. According to appellant, he "has encountered incidents where he has been concerned about his safety." In particular, he refers to two incidents that "demonstrated a special danger to his life." One occurred in 1992, when the boyfriend of one of his employees came to his place of business and threatened the employee, appellant, and other employees. He submitted a copy of a restraining order and Summons and Complaint dated January 1, 1992, that purportedly documents this event, to the Montclair Police Department. Appellant also claimed to have been verbally threatened when he ran for Congress in 2008. He did not report this alleged incident to the police, however, and thus has no documentation to support this claim.
Against this record, appellant argues that the trial court erred in not finding that he demonstrated a justifiable need to carry a handgun, that our State's laws in this area are "out of sync with the rest of the country," and that the decision of the trial court violates his constitutional rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We reject these arguments.
Assuming that an applicant is not subject to any of the disabilities outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3c, no application to carry a handgun shall be approved unless such applicant can demonstrate "that he is thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns, and that he has a justifiable need to carry a handgun." N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4c (emphasis added). In considering whether an applicant has demonstrated a justifiable need to carry a handgun, the court must evaluate each application on a case-by-case basis. In re Preis, 118 N.J. 564, 576 (1990). That being said, we have held that an unsubstantiated generalized assertion of fear for personal safety is an inadequate basis to demonstrate a justifiable need for a permit to carry a handgun. In Re Application of Borinsky, 363 N.J. Super. 10, 24 (App. Div. 2003).
Based on the record before us, we are satisfied that appellant's assertions are akin to a "generalized fear" for his personal safety and do not meet the statutory standard in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4c. He has not identified a recent, concrete incident substantiating a justifiable need to carry a handgun. Appellant's remaining arguments lack sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
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