Hidden Camera Reveals Challenge of Acquiring a Gun in New Jersey

The New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) has done some stealthy undercover reporting, sending a man outfitted with a concealed camera into the Orange Police Department in Essex County, New Jersey to see exactly what some Garden State citizens face when they simply try to apply for a firearms permit. The uncut video was then posted on Youtube.

The experience reveals sexism, ageism, discrimination against the disabled, as well as blatant violations of residents' Second Amendment rights on part of the police, as the running text commentary points out.

The undercover applicant goes to see Det. Sgt. Chris Garey who, according to his business card shown on screen, works in Licenses and Permits, Alcohol Beverage Control, and Special Investigations.

First, Garey tries to tell the applicant he shouldn't even be there.

"This is where it's processed, but you don't get (the forms) here, you get it online," Garey tells him. "It's done online, but you get processed through here. It's a process, you can't just come in here."

The applicant is a professional and does everything he can to be utterly agreeable and understanding, and to keep Garey talking. He asks, "Do you have the forms here?"

"No, it's done online," Garey repeats before going on to ask him why he wants a gun in the first place, saying, "What are you looking for a gun for?" The applicant provides reasons like target shooting and hanging out with friends who shoot. Garey continues to prod, "Why, why? Why now?"

Applicant: "It's a gun permit. I mean I'm a lawful citizen, I follow the rules."

Garey: "I understand that. But you woke up this morning and said, 'Hey…'"

App: "No, no. I've been thinking about it for a while. I have some friends who shoot and stuff and I just wanted to join them as a hobby type of thing."

When it comes to concealed-carry permits, New Jersey is a may-issue state, meaning officials can arbitrarily decide not to issue one, and they can ask why you need it. Garey tells the applicant in the video that CCW permit applications are almost always denied, except for people who need them for work, such as security guards who must be armed.

There is, however, no requirement to have a good reason for wanting a Firearms ID Card, which the applicant is attempting to get, or a handgun permit in the state.

Garey tells the man he's "not doing them now" and won't be until the beginning of the year, without explaining why. After discussing the futility of applying for a concealed carry permit in New Jersey, Garey starts asking the applicant about his medical history.

Garey: "What are your ailments, handicaps?"

App: "Yeah, just, I have a spinal cord-related injury from a car accident years ago. I get around and everything, I drive and all."

Garey: "Well, is it going to get any better or…?"

App: "No, this is it. I mean, I've shot before at the range and I can handle it, I've held a gun before, I've shot a gun before, but it doesn't affect that at all. Why, is that an issue at all?"

Garey: "Yes."

The detective then reads an ambiguous line from what seems like a firearms permit application about mental and physical health before recounting the story of a previous applicant.

"I had a female here, she's every bit of five foot, 80 pounds. In my opinion, I don't think you're capable," Garey said. "I told her, 'I'm going to be completely honest with you, if I saw you with a gun, especially here in Essex County and the people we have in this county,' I said, 'Yeah, I'd be concerned with you having a firearm, because, 'I said, 'I know I could walk right up to you, I could come in your house and whatever else and take that gun right from you and there's nothing you can do about it.'"

"Again, it wasn't anything against her," Garey added. "It's not her fault that she's female...but I said we have to look at the public safety."

The applicant takes all the information in and politely asks about Second Amendment rights.

App: "That doesn't apply there?"

Garey: "I can't say you can't apply."

App: "But as far as getting approved?"

Garey: "Yeah. And anyone can appeal and a judge can overturn anything."

But earlier, Garey said that he's never lost an appeal.

As a New Jersey resident, I have never had any problems with the police departments in either of the municipalities in which I've lived when it came to gun permits being expedited in an orderly fashion. Additionally, I've never been asked any of the questions Garey asks this applicant. In fact, the only personal question I can ever recall being asked is, "Know what you're getting yet?"

That said, I've heard many stories similar to what this undercover applicant experienced at this department while trying to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

The video is a little long, but you can watch it in full below: