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In re Denial for a New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 14, 2015

IN THE MATTER OF THE DENIAL FOR A NEW JERSEY FIREARMS PURCHASER IDENTIFICATION CARD AND PERMIT TO PURCHASE A HANDGUN BY Z.K

Submitted: September 23, 2014.

Approved for Publication May 14, 2015.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County.

Evan F. Nappen, attorney for appellant Z.K. ( Louis P. Nappen, on the brief).

Andrew C. Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent State of New Jersey ( Brian D. Gillet, Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief; Matthew P. Tallia, on the brief).

Before Judges FISHER, ACCURSO and MANAHAN. The opinion of the court was delivered by ACCURSO, J.A.D.

OPINION

[440 N.J.Super. 395] ACCURSO, J.A.D.

Z.K. applied for a firearms purchaser identification card, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(b), and a permit to purchase a handgun, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(a). The East Brunswick Police Department denied both because of his " incomplete application." Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(d), Z.K. requested a hearing in the Superior Court, and the court upheld the denials on the ground that Z.K. refused to complete an additional form required by East Brunswick that the court found did not " add[] anything to the [Superintendent of the Division of State Police's] form or the requirements of Chapter 58." Z.K. now appeals from that order. We reverse.

In the Law Division, the State contended that Z.K.'s failure to complete the " Certification of Juvenile Record" required by

Page 363

the East Brunswick Police Department rendered his application incomplete and justified the department's denial of the permits. The State presented the testimony of the detective sergeant charged with investigating Z.K.'s application.

[440 N.J.Super. 396] According to the officer, the first thing he did upon receipt of an application was to review it for completeness before proceeding. Upon ascertaining that Z.K. had not completed the department's juvenile record form, he telephoned Z.K. who confirmed he would not be submitting the form.[1] The officer discontinued the processing of Z.K.'s application and recommended to the captain responsible for gun permits that Z.K.'s application be denied. The captain thereafter wrote to Z.K. advising that the permits had been denied on the basis of the incomplete application.[2]

On cross-examination, the officer acknowledged the juvenile record form requires an applicant to include his name, date of birth, and social security number; to confirm that he has never " pled guilty or been found guilty of any offense committed as a juvenile that has not been expunged" ; to list the date, type of charge, town and county where any offense was committed; to sign the form; and to have a witness sign the form.[3] He agreed with counsel's characterization of the form as " merely duplicative" of the information required by question 18 on the superintendent's form, which asks, " Have you ever been adjudged a juvenile delinquent? If yes, list date(s), place(s) [and] offense(s)." The officer also acknowledged that the department had already run a [440 N.J.Super. 397] juvenile records' check on Z.K. at the point it determined to deny his application and was aware he had no juvenile record.[4]

After hearing the testimony, the court concluded East Brunswick's juvenile record form was duplicative of question 18 on the superintendent's form. Posing the question as " whether it's appropriate . . . for a law enforcement agency to ask somebody to answer the same thing twice," the court found no violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(f) because the applicant was not being asked for " [s]omething additional. . . . This is the exact same thing, it's just simply being asked twice." ...


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