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In re Application of Scott Boardman to Appeal Denial of a Firearms Purchaser Id Card

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 19, 2013



Submitted March 19, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Docket No. G-04-12.

Jacob & Chiarello, LLC, attorneys for appellant Scott Boardman (Joseph M. Chiarello, on the briefs).

Warren W. Faulk, Camden County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent State of New Jersey (Jason Magid, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Alvarez, Waugh and St. John.


Scott Boardman appeals from the April 30, 2012 Law Division order denying his application for a duplicate firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC). See N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3. Boardman had moved to a different address since obtaining the initial FPIC, and lost his card. We affirm.


At the hearing to review the denial of his FPIC conducted at Boardman's request, Lindenwold Police Chief Thomas Brennan testified that Boardman disclosed on his application that he was an alcoholic. Boardman included with the form a handwritten prescription pad page from David Neidorf, M.D., stating: "To whom it may concern, this [patient] has a history of alcohol abuse in the past but has been abstaining for many years. His labwork shows NORMAL liver function. He is cleared medically for a gun permit."

Brennan also testified that John Dinning, Boardman's first reference, responded to the questionnaire that he had known Boardman since 1957, and that he was an alcoholic. Jim Farrell, his second reference, responded that he had known Boardman for two years, and answered the question whether Boardman was an alcoholic in the negative.[1]

Brennan further testified that Boardman had been convicted of driving while intoxicated in 1974, 1978, and 2010. The incident which led to his conviction in March 2010, occurred in December 2009.

Brennan, who coincidentally was one of the responding officers, testified that on April 14, 2010, while Boardman was serving the six-month jail sentence imposed on the 2010 DWI conviction, the police were called to his home because of a report that Boardman's roommate, James Phillips, was despondent and threatening to harm himself. When the police arrived, they were denied entry to the home but heard a voice saying that the speaker was "fine." An officer cracked the front door open and saw Phillips sitting in a chair, holding a gun under his chin, surrounded by weaponry and empty alcohol containers. The police immediately retreated and heard a single gunshot as Phillips killed himself.

According to Brennan, when he entered Boardman's home, he saw the house in a "pretty serious state of disarray." A shotgun and rifle were found at Phillips's feet, along with a large kitchen knife, empty beer cans and cases, and a bottle of liquor on a nightstand. Brennan recalled that fourteen shotguns and rifles, as well as the handgun Phillips used to commit suicide, were taken from the scene. None of the weapons were secured in gun safes or had trigger locks or other safety devices.

Sean Williams, who had been with the Lindenwold Police Department for nineteen years before joining the Camden County Sheriff's Department, also testified about the incident. He was responsible for securing the fifteen weapons and ammunition found scattered throughout the house, including the attic. Williams said some of the weapons were "very dirty, unkempt, things of that nature." He verified that none had trigger devices or other security devices. His "impression" was "that the person [who] owned the home was a hoarder because there w[ere] numerous items — clothing, the amm[unition], full alcohol containers, used alcohol containers, dirty dishes . . . some type of pet food that was strewn about." Williams found ammunition scattered throughout the house for the shotguns and the handgun.

Boardman testified that he had not consumed alcohol for thirty years prior to drinking on the one occasion resulting in the December 2009 DWI charge. As he explained it, on the night in question "I went out on a date and had a good time." Boardman also said that when he was incarcerated in 2010, he left his house "orderly enough, " and his weapons were in padlocked gun cases under his bed.

During the hearing, however, neither officer mentioned, nor were they asked, about whether there were empty gun cases in the house. Brennan introduced several photographs taken of the incident scene, and we see no ...

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