Operation Establish Compliance Updates
Hightstown: After being contacted by our attorney, Hightstown agrees to remove their illegal additional forms.
Berkeley: Berkeley agrees to remove their additional forms based on objections brought forward by NJ2AS members. Berkeley agrees that they may not permanently delay processing an application if a reference fails to return the reference form and changes the language on their website.
Ewing: The Ewing Township Attorney notified the NJ2AS Attorney that they will eliminate mandatory appointments and the reference to "waiting periods" on their website.
Newark: After an in depth analysis, the Newark Police Director confirms the elimination of all additional requirements.
Parsippany: Parsippany notifies our attorney that they have removed their illegal additional forms.
Franklin Township (Hunterdon County): The Franklin Township Attorney confirms with our attorney that they have eliminated the use of their illegal additional forms.
Eatontown, Branchburg, Clinton, Bridgewater, Mansfield and Hamilton all confirm that they are now in compliance, having eliminated their illegal additional requirements, and/or having clarified confusing language in their instructions and websites.
Galloway: Galloway confirms that they have eliminated their illegal additional requirements.
Vineland: The City of Vineland notifies NJ2AS attorney that they have eliminated their illegal additional forms.
Pennsville: Pennsville Police Chief confirms that they have eliminated their illegal additional forms.
Manalapan: The Manalapan Township Attorney, Roger McLaughlin, notifies NJ2AS attorney, Dan Schmutter, in a letter, that "The additional forms referred to in your letter of April 9, 2012 will no longer be used."
NJ2AS v. NJSP: The Court grants our motion to consolidate.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ2AS files reply brief in support of our motion to consolidate.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ Deputy AG, Mr. Rizzo, files brief in opposition to our motion to consolidate.
Asbury Park: Asbury Park Chief of Police, Mark Kinmon, notifies NJ2AS attorney Dan Schmutter, in a letter, that their additional forms will no longer be used. "...I have reviewed this matter and instructed our Investigative Section Commander to discontinue the use of these forms and remove them from circulation."
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ Deputy AG, Mr. Rizzo, files for an extension to file his reply to our motion to consolidate.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ2AS files a motion to consolidate our case with the ACLU case and submits a brief regarding the same.
West Long Branch: After friendly discussions regarding additional forms, NJ2AS is notified that West Long Branch will discontinue the use of additional forms. NJ2AS thanks Brian Ellis for his hard work and dedication in making the firearms application process more efficient without sacrificing safety.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: ACLU informs the court that our case is similar to their own case challenging the same rules. This means that consolidation of the two cases may be ordered by the court.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Court issues notice of docketing.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJSP is served with our notice of appeal.
Egg Harbor Township: NJ2AS is notified by an Egg Harbor Township official that their additional forms will be discontinued.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: The judge rules against us. In doing so, he ruled that the guide is an SOP and that the rules in EO 47 exempting all SOP’s from OPRA is valid. He also ruled that NJ2AS has a “legitimate interest” in seeing the guide, but our need to see the guide is less than the State’s need to keep the guide a secret. We intend to appeal.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ2AS submits response to third certification. Case is set to be called on 12/2/2011
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJSP submits third certification.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Mr. Rizzo asks for an extension to complete the third certification. NJ2AS objects and is overruled. Judge Hurd gives Mr. Rizzo until 12/2/2011 “but that’s it.”
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Judge Hurd asks for another telephone conference for 11/16/2011.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Mr. Rizzo misses the call because he is stuck in traffic.
Call is rescheduled and begins at 10:12 AM. Conference call:
The judge, for the third time, states that the certification is insufficient and asks for another, more detailed certification.
Judge states that without a more detailed certification the appellate court will overturn and remand, asking for more detail.
NJ2AS states that the appellate court will affirm because no detail was given, as required by law.
NJ2AS is overruled.
Mr. Rizzo states that he will submit another certification.
New court date is scheduled for 11/18/11.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: The judge calls for a telephone conference with both parties. Conference is scheduled for 11/3/11 at 9:30 AM.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: The judge schedules another court date for 11/4/2011.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Mr. Rizzo finally submits the guide to the judge and makes a reference to the guide being updated again. NJ2AS sends a letter to the judge emphasizing that the allegations of a new guide are inadmissible and the existence of a new edition of the guide would have no effect on this litigation.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: The judge, again, was not satisfied with the new (second) certification and asked for an “en camera” review of the guide. NJ2AS did not object. Mr. Rizzo stated that he would submit the guide in a day or two. He did not bring the most recent version of the guide with him to court. The judge offered Mr. Rizzo another opportunity to submit a more detailed certification when submitting the guide for review.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: Judge schedules second oral arguments for 10/7/2011.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJ2AS files motion to strike NJSP's sur-reply brief and files a sur-sur-reply brief if the motion is denied.
NJ2AS v. NJSP: NJSP files new certification and files an unauthorized sur-reply Brief.
NJ2AS just had a meeting with our attorneys to finalize our strategy regarding our next lawsuit in Operation Establish Compliance (OEC).
For those of you who are not aware, OEC is our continuing effort to get municipal police departments to follow existing law when processing FID and PPP applications. Our first lawsuit to gain access to the NJSP Firearms Investigation Guidebook is still ongoing. We are now targeting the “additional requirements” that we see so often and that are prohibited by 2C:58-3(f).
…There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.
We are now identifying the plaintiffs.
If you are willing to be a plaintiff and you live in one of these three towns, please contact me as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org
Ocean City (Cape May County)
Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County)
Pennsville (Salem County)
You will have the opportunity to speak with one of our attorneys and have all of your questions answered before you make a final decision to participate.
Sincere thanks to all who have participated in the information gathering, research, Maks' Compliancy Project and everything else. None of this would be possible if it was not for the continued support and generous contributions of everyone here.
8/8/2011OEC Litigation Fund Tops $10k - NJ2AS Comes Closer to Filing Second Case
NJ2AS has reached an important milestone, topping $10,000 in donations to our litigation fund. We are hard at work analyzing the many reports we have received of violations of 2C:58-3(f) at the municipal level.
2C:58-3f. …There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.
7/12/2011Court Report - Judge Gives NJSP One More Chance
Today was our court date. The judge told the NJSP attorney that their reasoning was insufficient and then gave them 45 days to come up with a new certification. NJSP has until Aug 31, 2011 to submit their new certification. We will then have an opportunity to respond. Then the judge will make his decision.
6/15/2011Division of State Police Files Brief - Abandons Original Reason for Denial
NJSP has filed their brief. You can read it, and all of the other court documents on NJGF (New Jersey Gun Forums - thank you Maks for giving us some room on your site).
Incredibly, NJSP provides no evidence in their brief supporting any of their claims. Then they ask for an unprecedented "deference" from the court. Their brief must be read to be believed. They have the burden of proof, and have provided none. Essentially, they wrote their own certification and then asked the court to defer to it.
Court Date Set
The court date has been moved to July 12, 2011.
Division of State Police Asks for Another Extension
The NJSP has asked for another extension citing a heavy case load. We agreed to only one more week and nothing further. The court date will be moved again.
5/20/2011Division of State Police Asks for Extension
The NJSP has asked for a two week extension to respond to the court's Order to Show Cause. We have agreed to the extension, which is customary. The court date will be moved to late June.
NJ2AS Files Lawsuit to Gain Access to the NJSP Firearms Application Guidebook
During our investigation into the many violations that we see of the "no additional conditions or requirements" clause in 2C:58-3(f), we learned that the New Jersey State Police maintains a guide that it calls the Firearms Application Guidebook. This guide is given to all municipal police departments to ensure that firearms permitting laws are enforced uniformly throughout the state and in accordance with state law. The existence of this guide has raised many questions. Is it a guide, or is it a Standard Operating Procedure? Are the municipal police departments required to follow the guide? Does the guide have provisions that violate state law? In order to answer these questions, and others, we requested a copy of the guide under the Open Public Records Act and under common law right of access. We were denied access to the guide. NJ2AS has retained Richard Gutman, an experienced attorney specializing in First Amendment and OPRA cases. We filed our complaint on April 25th, 2011. Our court date is scheduled for June 14th, 2011.
Manalapan Township Police Department Notifies Applicants that Release Form is NOT Mandatory, but Problems Remain
NJ2AS has learned that Manalapan Township, which has one the most egregious additional forms for obtaining a firearms permit that we have come across, has changed their Authorization for the Release of Information form. As per NJ2AS's request, the Manalapan Township Police Department has added a sentence to the form notifying the applicant that the form is voluntary (old and new forms are attached).
"I understand that this release is voluntary and this process can be completed without signing this form" now appears in the fifth paragraph of the form and residents of the town will now be aware that they may choose not to complete the form.
NJ2AS praises the acting Manalapan Chief of Police, Louis Moreto for adding this language to the form.
However, although this language is an improvement, Manalapan's form is still problematic. First, there is no reason that Banks, Credit Agencies and Health Care Providers, for example, should ever be contacted for a simple firearms permit. So, the mere existence of the form is a problem. Second, the very next sentence in the same paragraph is, "I understand that by not completing this form it will drastically increase the time it takes for the Manalapan Township Police to conduct my background investigation." (emphasis added)
Of course, this statement is false and no one should allow themselves to be fooled or intimidated into signing it. It is impossible for the background investigation to take longer without signing the form because everything in the form is an additional requirement specifically prohibited by 2C:58-3f. None of these additional checks replace any of those "specifically set forth." Therefore, these additional checks can only add to the amount of time it takes to conduct a background investigation.
NJ2AS is grateful for Chief Moreto's effort and we now encourage him to eliminate the form altogether. By threatening a delay in receiving the permit, Manalapan is coercing its residents to sign an illegal form and to divulge unnecessary personal information to government officials in order to exercise their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. It's difficult to imagine how the Manalapan Township Police Department plans to weigh a person's bank account balance or credit score in their decision to issue a permit. The right thing to do is to eliminate the form. Both forms are shown at the bottom of this update.
Operation Establish Compliance has been brought to you by the donations of hard working men and women who are fed up with having their civil rights violated every time they apply for a permit. We will not stop until all of these illegal additional requirements have been permanently eliminated.
Legislative Committee Chairman
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