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Gun-Rights Groups Sue New Jersey over Arbitrary Power to Deny Concealed-Carry Permits

'That is egregious but pretty common in New Jersey...'

Second Amendment advocacy organizations sued New Jersey on Tuesday in an effort to invalidate the state’s restrictive concealed carry law, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action reported in a press release.

New Jersey has a may-issue concealed carry law, meaning that local or state law enforcement agencies determine whether to grant permits at their own discretion.

In New Jersey, this often means that law enforcement agencies will deny permits to law-abiding applicants if they do not have a compelling and immediate need to carry a concealed firearm. The state does not consider self-defense a sufficient justification.

“That is egregious but pretty common in New Jersey,” said Michael Jean, NRA-ILA Director of Litigation.

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The Supreme Court, however, disagrees with New Jersey’s assessment, calling self-defense “the central component” of the Second Amendment.

“The Supreme Court said that the Second Amendment ‘takes out of the hands of government … the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon,'” Jean said. “But that’s what officials in New Jersey do when they reject applicants who they believe haven’t justified their need to exercise their rights. This lawsuit’s aim is to put an end to that.”

NRA-ILA and The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs filed the lawsuit, Mazahreh v. Grewal, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

One plaintiff in the case holds a New Jersey state and federal firearms retail license, and he works as a firearms instructor.

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Yet, his local police department told him not to file a concealed carry permit application because he did not have a sufficient justification.

“Statistics show that self-defense situations come up quickly and without warning,” said Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA, in a press statement. “Time and time again, we hear stories about good people who have saved lives because they were carrying a firearm.”

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