Gun Lawyer Episode 142
gun, domestic violence, law, firearms, gun owners, new jersey, gun rights, guns, issued, restraining order, victim, lawyer, tro, folks, civil, violent felons, offense, criminal, allege, book
Speaker 3, Evan Nappen
Evan Nappen 00:16
Hello, I’m Evan Nappen, and welcome to Gun Lawyer. So, I’ve been encountering a number of cases in the office lately that made me say, hey, you know, I want to tell listeners about this. To make sure they’re aware of how this works in Jersey. How people can lose their gun rights and not even realize it. They just don’t understand the system, and it’s never explained by anyone clearly about how it impacts gun owners. You may hear tidbits here and there, or you may know, hey, this happens with that, but you’re not sure. I want to explain to you one of the many methods that New Jersey uses to steal people’s guns and to disenfranchise them of their gun rights. Now, like any anti-gun movement, any of their emotional machinations where they utilize hosts to get their way. They find a host subject that they then capitalize on to attack our right to keep and bear arms. Even though the host itself may, in fact, have a legitimate basis for its existence, they combine it with rabid anti-gun policies. So, now it has an entirely new creation to basically F*** with gun owners.
Evan Nappen 02:02
One of the areas that does this is New Jersey’s domestic violence laws. As soon as you talk about domestic violence laws, you’re talking about a very sensitive, politically sensitive, area. It’s up there with drunk driving, etc. If you start talking about these things, it is always highly charged emotions by advocates that fight for these issues. I want to say that I understand there are genuine domestic violence issues. I am against anyone abusing anybody, period. None of this is to belittle or in any way, reduce true victims of domestic violence nor their legal recourse that they should be able to have to protect themselves. I’m completely sympathetic with anybody who is a genuine victim of this. As I would be for anyone who’s a genuine victim of crime or anyone who is victimized by anything, that shouldn’t be victimizing people.
Evan Nappen 03:27
This includes people that are victims of New Jersey gun law. See that’s where the victimization of gun owners gets put into a law designed to end the victimization of people who are abused by domestic violence abusers. That’s where we have some conflict, and to understand this system is important as a gun owner. So that you don’t end up victimized in this situation. Now, anyone who is, you know, truly a victim of domestic violence. I’m glad that there are mechanisms for them to seek help, and there should be. The problem is that the domestic violence laws are extremely broad in their application. Then capitalizing on that factor, the antis have created a disqualifier that is based on individuals that have a Page – 2 – of 8
domestic violence restraining order or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction. Now, traditionally, prohibited persons that were folks that were not allowed to have firearms, were violent felons. This is something that for many, many years, there’s been a prohibition for violent felons having guns.
Evan Nappen 05:12
Then what we saw was violent felons being expanded to well, any felon virtually. In New Jersey, it’s so expanded to include many, many felony level offenses that are not violent felonies. But nonetheless, you get disenfranchised of your gun rights. So, it’s a slippery slope. The disqualifiers started out originally for violent felons and then felons generally. Well, now you see an expansion of disabilities, expansion of disqualified persons, so that it’s grown and grown and grown. Now, it’s not just people convicted of felonies, but individuals convicted of misdemeanors that involve domestic violence. They became prohibited persons in the same way that a felon is a prohibited person. So, the expansion of the disqualifier became an expansion of the class of persons that can be disenfranchised. For example, if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which in New Jersey would be a disorderly persons offense for let’s say, simple assault, which is the lower level of assault where you push somebody or maybe punch somebody or slap somebody, that kind of an assault took place. Well, that’s a lower level simple assault. So, if that’s committed against somebody who qualifies as a “victim of domestic violence”, let me just say that very term “victim” is the label in law already given before it’s been proven that the person is a victim. They’re called victims from the beginning whether you get convicted and there’s an actual victim or not. They’re just victims. That’s what the law is. If you’re convicted of domestic violence upon the person who meets that definition of victim, essentially someone who is a spouse or former person that you had a dating relationship with or somebody’s former household member or current, of course, current dating relationship, current household member, current spouse, if it’s in that class, then that becomes the prohibited act of domestic violence that creates a disqualifier.
Evan Nappen 08:18
So, for example, if you punch your spouse or pushed your spouse, and you’re convicted of that as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which New Jersey would call disorderly persons offense, you lose your gun rights. But if you go around every day, just punching strangers in the street, stranger after stranger, just sucker punching them day and night, it’s just simple assault after simple assault, you’re fine. You can have all the guns you want. So, the distinction is based on the alleged status of the victim, no longer the act. From that we actually see yet an expansion further to individuals who have a restraining order on them that arises out of domestic violence. By the way, a domestic violence restraining order is civil in nature. It isn’t even criminal. It’s civil. Where you are civilly restrained from having contact with the person, from getting within a certain distance of the person, from being in a household with the person etc.
Evan Nappen 09:32
There are all kinds of restraints that can be placed upon you in a civil domestic violence restraining order. If you have that, then that itself is now a disqualifier. It’s a civil restraining order that restrains you. It does not have any of the protections of criminal due process in the issuance of these restraining orders. There’s no jury trial on the issuance. It’s done by a judge, and the burden of proof is quite low for them to get issued. There’s no discovery process. There are no interrogatories. There are no Page – 3 – of 8
depositions. It’s done rather quickly, and they are known as a summary hearing. They are summary in nature. If you get slapped with this restraining order that’s done in this summary nature without any of the due process protections that would normally exist, even in a criminal matter, even in a lower level criminal matter, by the way, you’re now a prohibited person. You’re now prohibited from having firearms.
Evan Nappen 10:45
There is a case that the Supreme Court has recently chosen to review to test on that very principle. Does a civil restraining order actually disenfranchise someone of their rights? Is that constitutional under the Second Amendment? We’ll be seeing more about that case, but just to show you how it has expanded and progressed to a method of creating new categories of disqualified persons. So, in New Jersey, when a domestic violence restraining order is issued, it begins as what’s called a TRO, or Temporary Restraining Order. The TRO is issued without any input from the defendant. The plaintiff, who is normally the alleged victim, has to first meet the definition of victim that we just discussed, as long as it’s a spouse or boyfriend, girlfriend, or current or former household member, etc. Then all they need to allege at a standard of proof civil, and this is ex parte, meaning without the defendant even present, is that a predicate act of domestic violence occurred. Now what’s the predicate act? A predicate act is a list of criminal offenses that are considered to be domestic violence offenses and are now utilized in the issuance of the civil restraining order.
Evan Nappen 12:33
So, if you committed, let’s say, the element of aggravated assault, that would be criminal, then that can be alleged in a domestic violence restraining order as a predicate act, at a civil burden of proof, at a civil standard in a summary hearing without any of the other due process requirements, and that creates a gun disqualifier. That’s all it takes. Now, the gamut of predicate domestic violence offenses, the scale runs from very serious criminal-type actions in the civil sense, even very serious assaults, etc, even up to sexual assault. All those terrible things. All the way down to what in New Jersey is a petty disorderly persons offense, the lowest level of offense. Petty disorderly persons is a type of offense that’s heard in the lowest courts, and it is something that normally only has up to 30 days max jail as a sentence. This offense includes harassment, for example. Harassment, a charge of harassment is domestic violence. It’s enough for domestic violence. So, if a person meets the standard of being a victim and they allege harassment, then they can have a restraining order issued. What’s the essence of harassment? Well, the essence of harassment is pretty simple. It’s doing something with the purpose to annoy. That’s it. Committing this act with purpose to annoy. That’s the essence of it. So, I know that none of you have ever annoyed your spouse or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Because if you’ve annoyed them with purpose, then you’ve committed arguably harassment and that’s all that’s needed so that a restraining order can issue against you.
Evan Nappen 14:42
If a TRO is issued against you, then you’re going to have a hearing to see if it should be made final where all kinds of restraints can be placed against you. The kicker is, of course, from the beginning of the TRO through to the FRO, you’re now disqualified from having guns anywhere in the United States. On top of that, when the TRO issues, literally baked right into the cake, right into the forms for the TRO is a warrant to search and seize. All the judge has to do is check that box, fill in a few lines for search Page – 4 – of 8
and seizures, sign off on that, and boom, now your privacy is invaded. Your home is searched, and your firearms taken. This happens routinely on a civil matter done ex parte, without your participation, simply based on those allegations. Alleging a predicate act of the lowest level that New Jersey has to offer. Boom, you’re getting searched, and your guns are taken. Even after, let’s just assume you get that TRO, and it gets dismissed. Now you have to fight to get your guns back, and this is where it really becomes precarious. Where individuals can lose their gun rights and not even know it. I’m going to tell you what the Government doesn’t even tell individuals when they are at these weapon forfeiture hearings. I’m going to tell you their little secret when we come back from the break.
Speaker 3 16:38
For over 30 years, attorney Evan Nappen has seen what rotten laws do to good people. That’s why he’s dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of America’s gun owners. A fearsome courtroom litigator fighting for rights, justice, and freedom. An unrelenting gun rights spokesman tearing away at anti-gun propaganda to expose the truth. Author of six bestselling books on gun rights including Nappen on Gun Law, a bright orange gun law Bible that sits atop the desk of virtually every lawyer, police chief, firearms dealer, and savvy gun owner. That’s what made Evan Nappen America’s Gun Lawyer. Gun laws are designed to make you a criminal. Don’t become the innocent victim of a vicious anti-gun legal system. This is the guy you want on your side. Keep his name and number in your wallet and hope you never have to use it. But if you live, work, or travel with a firearm, the deck is already stacked against you. You can find him on the web at EvanNappen.com or follow the link on the Gun Lawyer resource page. Evan Nappen – America’s Gun Lawyer.
Speaker 3 17:52
You’re listening to Gun Lawyer with Attorney Evan Nappen. Available wherever you get your favorite podcast.
Evan Nappen 18:07
Hey, welcome back to Gun Lawyer. I’m Evan Nappen. Thank you for being a listener. I really appreciate the ability to spread the word and to get the information out to you so you know what the truth is and what you can do to protect yourself. Knowledge is the key. Helping to make this show possible are our great sponsors, which include the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs. The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol clubs is the premier gun rights group in New Jersey. They are the NRA affiliate for New Jersey. They are an umbrella organization of gun clubs, but you can join as an individual member. They are the voice in Trenton for the gun owner. They have a full time paid lobbyist. They’re in the courts litigating, as we speak, over the Carry Killer law, assault firearms, large capacity magazines, all kinds of gun issues that they’re litigating for us. Watching the legislature, lobbying the legislature, and letting their members know when there’s any issue. They send out great email alerts and a fantastic newsletter. You need to be a member of the Association. I know you’ve heard me say this, but it’s absolutely true. It’s the minimum you can do. I’m not telling you what the maximum you can do. There are other gun groups, too, that you should be part of. I’m not saying don’t belong to them, too. But I’ll tell you right now, if you live in New Jersey and you care about guns and you don’t belong to the state Association, then I don’t have much respect for you, honestly, because you’re not doing your part. Be part of the solution. Go to anjrpc.org. Not only will you help the cause, but also, you’re going to help yourself because they’re going to keep you on top of things and you’re Page – 5 – of 8
going to know what’s going on. It’s critical that you become and remain a member of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs.
Evan Nappen 20:09
Our other fine sponsor is WeShoot. WeShoot is a range in Lakewood, an indoor target range. A great resource, and a place you can go and shoot. You know it’s tough in New Jersey to find great places to shoot. Here is a super conveniently located WeShoot right there in Lakewood. A great facility and fantastic staff for training. They can get you certified to get your carry permit. They can take the most novice shooter and teach you what you need to know to the most advanced. They have great trainers. Everybody loves them, and they do a fantastic job. You really need to check out WeShoot.
Evan Nappen 20:54
By the way, WeShoot has been running some great specials and sales. One of their sales is 12% off all 9mm firearms. The great thing about WeShoot is if you go in there and you have a Firearms ID Card and you find a 9mm handgun on sale. It’s an unbeatable price. You’re like this is great. I want to get it, but I don’t have my pistol purchase permit yet. If you have a Firearms ID Card, they’ll hold it for 90 days at the special price so you can get your permit done. Then you can go get your great deal on the gun. The other thing they’re running is 20% off their flagship Carry Class. If you want to take the Carry Class, the USCCA NJ Certification, for your carry permit, they’re offering it, and it’s 20% off. This is exclusively being offered through Gun Lawyer. You can get 20% off, and I’m going to give you the special promo code. It’s “GunLawyer20”. That’s right. “GunLawyer20”. If you go to WeShoot and tell me you want their flagship Carry Class, you’re going to get your carry permit certification. You want to take that class and learn what you need to know to protect yourself and get your license. You can get 20% off because you’re a Gun Lawyer listener. Just give them that promo code. “GunLawyer20”. Check out WeShoot at weshootusa.com. It’s a beautiful website with magnificent photography. Really just great place with great people. I’m really proud to be associated with those fine folks at WeShoot.
Evan Nappen 22:51
Let me also take a moment now to shamelessly plug my book which I love to do. The New Jersey Gun Law book is out – the 25th Anniversary Edition. I’m like, oh my god, 25 years with this book. It’s amazing. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of man hours. It’s honestly a labor of love, folks. If I look at what I make on it, I can make more money at McDonald’s these days. But it’s not about the money. It’s about getting the word out and making it so folks understand the gun laws so they can protect themselves. You need to have that resource, the Bible, New Jersey Gun Law. Used by 1000s of individuals throughout New Jersey. That big orange book. It’s over 500 pages with 120 gun law topics, Jersey specific, all in question and answer format, so you can easily understand. The best thing about the new book is that QR code right on the front. Scan that QR code and subscribe for free to all the updates. You will get email alerts from me. As soon as there’s an update, you get access to the archive, and you can easily download the update. Therefore, your book stays current. Do you want to know what the current sensitive places are? Buy my book, scan the code, and you’ll know exactly what it is. Normally within 24 hours of any gun law change or any case coming down of anything that affects New Jersey gun owners, anything that changes, within 24 hours, I’m getting that alert out so that my dedicated readers and listeners have that information and it’s free. Just hit that QR code, subscribe, and you will be on top of it between the Association of New Jersey Rifle Pistol Clubs and my alerts as Page – 6 – of 8
well. You’re going to be in the know, and it makes Jersey shenanigans manageable that they try to pull on gun owners. There is a lot of flux here about things that are changing and not changing. People want to know, and I can give you the answer. Here’s where you’ll find them. Ask anyone who has a copy of the book how much they use it, how much they love it, how dedicated they are to having that handy? I mean, it is a fact. I’m proud because of it. I really am because it’s made a difference, made a big difference, in protecting my fellow brothers and sisters that cherish their gun rights.
Evan Nappen 25:25
Speaking of brothers and sisters that cherish gun rights, my firm is hiring. I’m looking to hire another lawyer. We’re growing. New Jersey is insane, and of course, we’re growing. I need to hire another attorney. If you’ve got some experience as an attorney and you’ve been interested in gun law, you’re into Second Amendment issues, you want to join the Gun Lawyer here. Learn to practice even better, find out all the kinds of cool stuff that we do and how we save our gun rights. If you’re interested in that, contact me at my law office or just send me an email that Evan@EvanNappen.com Or go right to the website, evannappen.com, contact info, and get a hold of me and send me your resume. I’m looking to hire folks that love this issue and are interested in this very issue.
Evan Nappen 26:28
So, what is the little secret that New Jersey doesn’t want folks to know? That little secret is there’s another provision when it comes to the seizure of firearms under the domestic violence restraining order law. This provision says that anybody who has had guns seized pursuant to domestic violence and has not had those firearms returned, is a prohibited person. That’s right, you become the equivalent of a convicted felon, essentially. You cannot possess guns anymore, and if you do, it’s a crime. You can’t get any gun license. You’re disenfranchised of your gun rights, and they don’t even tell you that. Because what happens is, if your guns are taken, and then folks get a call from the prosecutor’s investigator or whoever, and they say, hey, listen, we’re such nice folks, we’ll let you sell your guns to a dealer, and you get the money. If you agree to that and those guns don’t get returned to you, you have lost your gun rights. They don’t tell you that you lose your gun rights. The judge won’t tell you lose your gun rights. You’ll just be the person who had guns seized and not returned and now that’s a prohibitor. It’s prohibitor under the license provision, and it’s prohibited in the criminal law for anyone who possesses firearms.
Evan Nappen 27:52
So, let’s say all they took was some crappy 12 gauge, top break shot gun. A beat up piece of junk basically that you couldn’t even get 20 bucks for at a gun buyback. And you say I don’t need to waste a day at work to get that back. Keep it. If you do that, you’ve now lost your gun rights because you had a gun seized and not returned. Don’t fall for that trap, folks. Anytime the Government takes your guns, you have the right to a hearing. Fight to get your guns. Remember what you’re fighting for is your gun rights. You have got to fight to get your guns back. You have got to fight to get your gun rights restored and not taken away and not lost over this type of law that says way more than just forfeit your property. It removes your rights, and it does it with no due process because they don’t tell you. They don’t warn you that not getting your guns back is a disqualifier.
Evan Nappen 28:56 Page – 7 – of 8
So much so that if you look at a gun application today, an application for a carry license or application for a Firearms ID Card, or pistol purchase permit, nowhere on there is even a question that asks, have you ever had gun seized and not returned? Yet, it’s an actual disqualifier with all the other ones. But they don’t even ask it. Do you know why? Because if everybody knew this, everybody would fight to get their guns back. If it was on those applications and on the Certificate of Eligibility, you’d be listening to this show right now and you’d go, hey, Nappen I knew that. I read it on the form. But most of you listening today, say, what? If you’ve had firearms seized and not returned, you don’t get your guns back. I didn’t know that. How come you didn’t know that? Because they don’t want you to know until it’s too late.
Evan Nappen 29:49
Then you end up like a case I had where the guy gave up his gun and got the money. He went out hunting with a friend, borrowed a shotgun, which you’re allowed to do while hunting, unless you’re disqualified. He had a minor hunting violation. They ran him and guess what? Oh, he’s had guns seized but not returned. Now he’s facing very serious felony level charges for possessing a gun because he had guns seized and not returned. He had no clue about that bombshell waiting to go off. But you, my listeners, do know it now. You know that if you ever have your guns taken, you fight to get them back. It’s critical. The most important thing if you care about your gun rights is to make sure you don’t lose your guns.
Evan Nappen 30:44
Now I have gotten some interesting letters. I always love letters, the Ask Evan letters, and I have some of them here. Let me take a look. Oh, here’s a good one from Nick regarding youth sporting events. I know we can’t carry at a youth sport event, but can I have my gun locked in my car in my safe? Yes, youth sporting events are a sensitive place. Until we win the Carry lawsuit, you cannot have your firearm at a youth sporting event. It is clear in the law that anytime you enter any sensitive place, you’re allowed in the parking lot of that sensitive place to take your gun, unload it, lock it in a securely locked container, slide it under the seat, use one of those guns safe so you can lock it unloaded in your car, and have the ammunition separate. Let’s put that in a separate container. Now you’re absolutely 100% within what the law requires. You even demonstrated what a responsible gun owner you are by having a bona fide car gun safe. Look, folks, you invest all this money in your license, in your ammo, in your training, in your gun, all this, and you’re not going to spend less than 50 bucks so you can have the right gun safe for your car? Come on. It’s in your own best interest to do it because you don’t want your gun stolen. You don’t want to just put it in some lockbox under your car that’s not designed to secure it. So, do the right thing. It keeps you within the law. But the answer is yes, you’re allowed and are supposed to secure your gun in that manner, secure it. You’re allowed to do it in the parking lot of a sensitive place. Then you’re covered under the law for that.
Evan Nappen 32:49
Now keep in mind that this applies to all the sensitive places that we’ve talked about. You can read about. But one of the sensitive places, which is school zones and such, keep in mind that has an added prohibition in a separate section. Even though they made schools and school property and all that a sensitive place. There’s a separate prohibition under a separate section of the law, N.J.S. 2C:39-5.e., and there you can’t have it on the grounds. The exemption for sensitive places does not exempt for that Page – 8 – of 8
other law regarding educational institutions and such that we’ve had well before the carry killer law was passed. So, be very, very careful when it comes to schools. Do not even have your vehicle in a school parking lot that’s locked in this manner. Park off the school grounds when it comes to schools. That is just an important tip I want you to be aware of. Well, folks, we have actually gone over the time because I love speaking to you and imparting this information that hopefully will save gun owners from becoming victims of New Jersey gun law. Because, as you know, gun laws don’t protect honest citizens from criminals. They protect criminals from honest citizens.
Speaker 3 34:24
Gun Lawyer is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York. Reach us by emailing Evan@gun.lawyer. The information and opinions in this broadcast do not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney in your state.