IN RE APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE APPLICATION OF Z.L. FOR A FIREARMS PURCHASER IDENTIFICATION CARD AND THREE HANDGUN PERMITS. 
January 7, 2015, Submitted
Approved for Publication April 22, 2015.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Municipal Appeal No. 2013-024.
Evan F. Nappen, attorney for appellant Z.L. ( Louis P. Nappen, on the brief).
Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent State of New Jersey ( Mary R. Juliano, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, Ashley L. Behre, Legal Assistant, on the brief).
Before Judges FUENTES, KENNEDY and O'CONNOR. The opinion of the Court was delivered by KENNEDY, J.A.D.
[440 N.J.Super. 353] KENNEDY, J.A.D.
Appellant, Z.L., appeals an order of the Law Division upholding the denial of his application for a firearms purchaser identification card and three permits to purchase a handgun (" the permits" ). Appellant argues that the Law Division improperly considered his history of domestic disputes as evidence that granting his application for the permits creates a present danger to " public health, safety and welfare" under N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5). Appellant further argues that the Law Division denied his right to " procedural due process" ; erred by requiring him to testify before the State presented its case; and erred by basing its ruling upon " speculation and hearsay." We have considered these arguments in light of the record and the law, and we affirm the order of the Law Division.
In January 2013, appellant applied to the Aberdeen Police Department for the permits. A detective undertook an investigation into appellant's background, and learned that, while he had never been convicted of a crime or any disorderly persons or domestic violence offenses, he had been arrested in 1998 for domestic violence and police responded to his home on five occasions from 2003 to 2011 to resolve disputes between him and his wife.
In 1998, appellant's wife called police and charged him with simple assault. Although a domestic violence complaint was filed, appellant's wife did not seek a temporary restraining order, and the charge was not thereafter sustained. Also, police responded to appellant's home on five occasions, between 2003 and 2011, based on various domestic dispute complaints reported by his wife. The Aberdeen Police Chief denied appellant's application for the permits, explaining that the investigation " revealed a past history [440 N.J.Super. 354] of domestic violence. This in itself may indicate a public safety concern." He then appealed to the Law Division.
The Law Division judge conducted a hearing, at which both appellant and the investigating detective testified. Appellant, represented by counsel, elected to testify and essentially confirmed the accuracy of his application, stating, among other things, that he had never been convicted of a " domestic violence" offense and had never been the subject of a temporary or a final restraining order. Defense counsel objected as beyond the scope of direct examination to the State's questioning of appellant regarding the domestic disputes upon which the police chief had denied his application for the permits. The judge overruled the objection.
The State then cross-examined appellant about the 1998 domestic violence complaint and the five other domestic disputes in which police responded to his home, and appellant essentially confirmed the core facts. Appellant conceded he had struck his wife in 1998, but stated it was " accidental." He said he had inadvertently struck his wife in the mouth with his hand when she walked up behind him, after a disagreement about their child's dishwashing techniques. He said he had never intentionally struck her, and added he was " acquitted" after a brief trial. He also explained the other police responses to the home arose from ordinary disputes between spouses, and none involved violence or threats. Further, he ...