Friday, September 16, 2011

Rights Infringed

I recently put up a post laughing at the ridiculous notion that requiring identification for voting amounts to vote suppression, or some sort of attack on voting rights. This is accusation is particularly funny coming from Democrats, who in certain states have been in the forefront of suppressing constitutional rights. This is definitely the case in my state of New Jersey.

We had an incident at our house where gas was stolen from one of our vehicles late at night, even though we live in a reasonably nice area. Since I currently work at night, my wife, who is disabled and not that mobile, is home with our son. The thought occurred to me that it would not be good if she were to go outside after hearing some noise, and surprise a criminal. I decided to look into purchasing a handgun, primarily for my wife's protection, and secondarily to take to a range and do some target shooting for family recreation. Although we have various weapons in the house, none of them are of the type that my wife could reasonably take outside just in case. The area is rural, but not rural enough that walking outside with a shotgun wouldn't alarm a neighbor.

After looking into it, I have determined that buying a handgun in New Jersey is probably more trouble than it is worth. Before I can buy anything, I first have to go to my local police station, and submit a detailed form. Among other things, the form requires my employer information, and two references from non-family members. You must also be fingerprinted, pay multiple fees which appear to total at least a hundred dollars, and wait anywhere from one to five months, depending on your local police department and state processing. Separate forms must be filled out for each handgun purchase, each of which requires new fees. There is a blog post here that relates the details of that blogger's experience with buying a handgun in New Jersey.

Since buying handguns out of state is illegal, I will not be getting one without jumping through all those hoops. That's because I don't want to get an illegal weapon, something I doubt criminals are too concerned with. It certainly seems to me that my 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms is at the very least being "infringed" by all of these requirements. But somehow this must be constitutional. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to apply to purchase. If I do I will probably post my own experience.


  1. I'm a strong gun-control advocate, but I don't support all measures uniformly. Of those, I think the fee is the worst. I don't like when fees force someone's decision, and a hundred bucks for the simple purchase of a handgun is ridiculous.

    I understand waiting periods... but one month would be the upper limit of what I would consider acceptable. I'm sure the processing time is part of the problem, but in this electronic age, I refuse to believe any paperwork takes over a two-weeks to do.

    I sort of understand fingerprinting... but that is kind of pushing the boundaries. I tend to view that as a measure taken for people who are truly a criminal risk, and it's ridiculous to assume gun owners are just potential criminals.

    I'm surprised by the need for references. I would be more interested in a person's health record (particularly mental health) before I care about references. Even psychopaths can find two buddies who will vouch for them, so what's the point? Employer info is even more puzzling... maybe they don't sell handguns to postal workers anymore?

    Just a thought: have you considered motion-sensor activated lights?

  2. I don't have a problem with reasonable laws that are simply designed to prevent criminals from buying, such as a identification requirements and a criminal background check -- which can be done instantly as it is in many states. But NJ's laws appear to be designed to discourage anyone from purchasing.

    "Just a thought: have you considered motion-sensor activated lights?"

    That's a good idea except that we have a lot of animals around here, so I'm not sure if they would be turning it on and off constantly. I also looked into getting a locking gas cap, but they are kind of a nuisance. If it occurs again I'll definitely be getting one though.