TRENTON, NEW JERSEY — A southern New Jersey man cannot buy guns because his wife’s prior felonies and a misdemeanor domestic violence offense present an “unacceptable threat to public health, safety and welfare,” a state appellate court ruled.
The two-judge panel determined that the presence of firearms in the man’s home would equate to his wife having access to those firearms. As for his Constitutional right to own firearms? The appellate court ruled that right was “subject to reasonable limitations.”
The original ruling in this case was made by a New Jersey Superior Court judge and has since been upheld. Acting as one of the primary agents, the police chief in the Burlington County town where the man lives testified to the man’s wife’s violent behavior in the past.
Originally, the man had wanted to obtain a firearm purchaser’s identification card – which is the first step towards legally acquiring firearms in the state of New Jersey. With it, he included four permits to buy guns to replace the firearms he described as “antiquated”. His stated purpose was to improve his arsenal so he could continue to go target shooting with his son.
The Man Already Had Guns – Wife Never Used Them
So this man, who’s name remains undisclosed to protect the privacy of him and his family, was denied the ability to purchase firearms to replace the ones he already has. Thus, it took two New Jersey courts to agree that this man should be denied the right to purchase firearms because of his wife’s non-violent felony charges and one charge of domestic abuse from 2011? It seems that she already has this theoretical access to those firearms. If she is already constitutes such a threat to the people of New Jersey, you’d think that would be an issue.
The man clearly stated during the proceedings that he planned on keeping the newly acquired firearms out of her control – just like the ones he presently keeps out of her control.
When apparently he filed a domestic abuse charge against his own wife in 2011, the conditions around that charge are not commonly known. What is known is she has a troubled past with drugs and alcohol – both non-violent offenses. So should spouses across the country worry that if they report their spouse for domestic abuse, they too will be denied the right to a firearm?
What are “acceptable limits” on Constitutional rights?
More importantly, is this New Jersey judiciary process tone-deaf to the Constitution?
Do you believe someone should be denied access to a firearm based upon their spouse’s criminal history? Tell us about it in the comments section below.