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NJ Supreme Court makes landmark ruling on Domestic Violence and Weapons Possession

Published: July 11, 2016

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NJ Supreme Court Rules in First Gun Case in 26 years: Orders Former Police Officer to Surrender Weapons Based on Domestic Violence

NJ Restraining Order Defense

NJ Restraining Order Defense

The New Jersey Supreme Court issued it’s first ruling in 26 years regarding a firearms issue, and it was a unanimous opinion at that. The Court held that New Jersey’s domestic violence prevention law which requires that domestic violence offenders (who have had a temporary or final restraining order issued against them) forfeit their weapons does not violate a citizen’s right to bear arms under the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution.

The opinion was written by Associate Justice Lee Solomon who held, “[t]he right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is subject to reasonable limitations. The police power of the state provides our Legislature with the authority to regulate firearms and establish such ‘reasonable limitations’ on their ownership.”

New Jersey has some of the most strict gun laws in the country and it appears the NJ Supreme Court wants to keep it that way. They had not ruled on a firearms case since 1990 when they upheld the denial of firearms permits to two private detectives. In this case, the court held that the former Roseland police officer must forfeit his weapons and firearms ID card based on his prior history of domestic violence. Former police officers are some of the few in the state who are allowed to have concealed carry permits.

The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 authorizes state officials to revoke gun ownership rights for anyone who poses a risk to the “public health, safety or welfare.” Courts considering these cases must base their legal rulings on a civil standard of “preponderance of evidence” which essentially means more likely than not or 51%. This is the same standard that is applied in restraining order hearings as opposed to a criminal standard which is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.


Filed under: Domestic Violence

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