August 16, 2010
IN THE MATTER OF THE DENIAL OF A GUN PERMIT OF SCOTT E. CHURCHILL
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Warren County, Appeal No. 02-GP-08.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted May 3, 2010
Before Judges Rodríguez and Yannotti.
Scott E. Churchill appeals from the Law Division's March 18, 2009 order upholding the denial by the New Jersey State Police of Churchill's application for a permit to carry a handgun. We affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge John H. Pursel in his March 18, 2009 written opinion.
These are the facts. Churchill is a private investigator who runs a security service. According to his brief, he has provided security services for former governors and several entertainers. He has had a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey since 1994. However, when he sought to renew his permit in July 2008, it was denied by the New Jersey State Police. The reason for the denial was that question nineteen on the application required Churchill to disclose whether any prior application for a gun permit had been denied. Although Churchill answered "no," this was inaccurate. He failed to disclose that New York had previously denied his application for a gun permit because he had lied about his business and obtained a private investigator license under false pretenses. The application was also denied because Churchill failed to demonstrate a justifiable need for a handgun.
Churchill appealed the denial of his permit to the Law Division. Judge Pursel found that Churchill was not a person of good moral character because he "purposely falsified his [renewal] application" and "attempted to mislead the investigating officers and the court as to his reasons for doing so."
Churchill appeals to us contending that the trial court erred because: (1) he is a person of good moral character and there was no adequate, substantial, credible evidence to support the judge's finding; (2) there was no evidence that he knowingly falsified his New Jersey application; and (3) contrary to the judge's finding, he had a justifiable need to carry a handgun. We reject these contentions.
There is sufficient credible evidence in the record to support the judge's findings. Therefore, they are binding on us. State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 470-71 (1999); State v. Johnson, 42 N.J. 146, 158-59 (1964). We do not accept as credible Churchill's assertion that he believed that question nineteen only pertained to a prior denial of a permit application by New Jersey. The record supports the court's finding that Churchill knowingly provided a false answer on the application form.
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