Responsible gun ownership is your constitutional right under the 2nd Amendment. Despite this right, individual states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are permitted to restrict who is permitted to carry a gun within their jurisdiction. Gun laws change dramatically as you cross a state’s border. Violating a state’s gun law is a serious criminal matter and with us tonight to discuss these types of criminal charges is Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Alfonso Gambone
QUESTION – Rob Maadi: For those that have a Pennsylvania license to carry, can they use it in a state like New Jersey or New York?
Alfonso Gambone: No. If you headed over the bridge into the states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey or New York! Don’t assume distance matters when it comes to handgun reciprocity.
Ignorance isn’t a defense and neither is the need to protect your family, your property or expensive gifts for family and friends! While most judges and even prosecutors may somewhat empathize with parent or guardian who offers this as an excuse, it may not do much to change a criminal charge. While many states including New Jersey do consider an out of state permit as possible mitigation to a gun crime, a convicted person still faces a possible criminal record and at the very least an arrest record.
QUESTION – Rob Maadi: Rob Maadi: What is the difference between a state like Pennsylvania and New Jersey when it comes to a license to carry a gun?
Alfonso Gambone: Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state whereas New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Connecticut, are “may issue” states! There are other “may issue” jurisdictions like Delaware such as California and Alabama. In addition, there are “no issue” jurisdictions of Illinois, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia that simply don’t allow citizens to carry concealed handguns.
“Shall issue” states include states like Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Pennsylvania has reciprocity with all of these jurisdictions
QUESTION – Rob Maadi: How hard is it to get a license to carry in New Jersey?
Alfonso Gambone: It’s almost impossible! Any person who wants to carry in the State must make an application to the New Jersey State Police or local law enforcement. In addition to this application, the person must submit the names of 3 “reputable persons” who have known the applicant for 3 years and who can certify that the person is of “good moral character and behavior.”
In addition to these requirements the applicant needs to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a Firearm Purchaser Identification Card. The applicant must also demonstrate “thorough familiarity” with the safe handling and use of a handgun through an approved firearms training course.
Finally, the applicant must show a justifiable need to carry a handgun. The applicant must indicate this need in written certification under oath. The need must show in detail the following.
- An urgent necessity for self protection
- Specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that can’t be avoided by other than the issuance of permit to carry
- Possible corroboration of threats/violence – Police Reports of previous incidents
Even if the applicant satisfies all of these requirements, a Superior Court Judge for that county in New Jersey must approve the issuance of the permit. If the permit is issued, its only good for 2 years and renewal applications are subject to the same requirements.
QUESTION – Rob Maadi: Is it any easier to get a license to carry in Pennsylvania?
It is easier but the applicant must still meet the necessary character and fitness requirements. Unlike New Jersey, there’s no requirement that the applicant demonstrate “good cause” for the weapon. While an applicant in Pennsylvania doesn’t need to demonstrate “good cause”, law enforcement has 45 days to conduct an investigation into a person’s background to determine eligibility.
All of these concepts are discussed in my free book—What Everyone Should Know About Guns, Drugs & Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania