There has been a win for gun rights in the very anti-gun state of New Jersey, even if it is a small one.
The state Attorney General’s Office has pain a NJ gun rights group $101,626 in legal costs and finally released documents detailing the state’s firearms background check process, according to this story from nj.com.
The office has been fighting the disclosure of these documents in court for years, according to NJ Advance Media.
The judge ordered the payment after a lengthy legal battle between the state and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, which was seeking the State Police’s guide for local departments performing checks on those applying for firearms permits, the story says.
The decision comes after a commission formed by Gov. Chris Christie issued a December report finding the state’s permitting process was opaque and inefficient.
In New Jersey, residents must obtain a Firearms Purchaser ID card from the State Police, through their local police department, to buy any firearm. Residents must apply for a separate permit for each handgun they want to purchase, which requires a background check, a mental health records check, and two reference letters from people not related to the applicant. When it comes to concealed carry permits, NJ is a “may issue” state, requiring applicants to demonstrate an immediate threat in order to receive a carry permit, of which hardly any are issued.
Second Amendment advocates have long said that the state law isn’t applied consistently from town to town, with permit applications taking anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year to be approved or rejected.
NJSAS President Alexander Roubian said his group was trying to collect information on how the state conducts its background checks so it could advise its members on how to comply with the law. The division denied the request, citing exemptions in the state’s Open Public Records Act for documents that reveal investigative techniques and training procedures, the story says.
“It’s absurd because what they are really gaining by preventing us from knowing how they’re investigating us?” Roubian said. A trial court sided with the State Police, but an appeals court reversed the decision, the story says.
The division eventually released a heavily redacted copy of the 110-page “Firearms Applicant Investigation Guide.” The NJSAS is appealing, because of the large amount of redacted information and to obtain other documents related to the permitting process that police withheld.
As you can see here, entire pages of the document have been blacked out by State Police.