New Jersey's 39th Legislative District

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Cardinale Bill to Allow Carry Permits for Judges & Legislators

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New Legislation would allow New Jersey judges and legislators to obtain permits to carry handguns, provided they receive firearms training

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) introduced a bill that would allow legislators, as well as judges at the superior and municipal court levels, to obtain permits to carry handguns provided they complete at least eight hours of firearm safety training.

Sen. Gerald Cardinale introduced legislation that would make it easier for judges and legislators to get handgun carry permits. (©iStock)

“Judges and legislators face a greater risk of falling victim to violent attacks, simply because of their easily identifiable position in public life,” Senator Cardinale said. “This measure will ensure that public servants have the means to protect themselves from those who might violently disagree with their viewpoints or decisions. A judge should feel safe returning home each night no matter how they ruled or what they ruled on that day.”

The bill (S-1982) was inspired by attacks, such as the 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt during a meeting with constituents at an Arizona supermarket. More recently, a Texas judge was wounded in a shooting outside of her home in Austin.

In order to obtain a permit to carry a handgun under current New Jersey law, an applicant must show a “justifiable need” for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks. They also must show that the danger to their life cannot be avoided by any means other than to carry a handgun. Under the current process, it’s virtually impossible to get a carry permit in New Jersey.

“The state’s current laws  prevent only responsible citizens from having the ability to arm themselves for self protection,” Cardinale said. “Our laws do not protect us they merely give criminals an advantage by failing to keep guns away from terrorists and dangerous criminals. We need to have sensible regulations concerning firearms, aimed at protecting us rather than ideological  laws that only create an environment that emboldens criminals, terrorists and others with evil intent”

Under Senator Cardinale’s bill, legislators and judges will be exempt from the “justifiable need” requirement. Instead, they will only have to show they completed at least eight hours of firearm safety training and do not have any disabilities that would exclude them under current law.

“I believe that if vulnerable public officials do not have to fear violent reprisals related to their duties, they will be able to better carry out their mission to serve the people of New Jersey,” Senator Cardinale said. “Our dedicated public servants are some of our greatest resources, and we cannot afford to lose any to an assassin’s bullet.”

Update (3/24/16): Cardinale to Introduce Bill Allowing Access to Carry Permits for Lawful Citizens

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