Michael McGovern applied for a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (“FPIC”) and Handgun Purchase Permit (“HPP”) in Jersey City. McGovern completed all of the standard application forms required by the New Jersey State Police. Apparently, the State Police forms, which are required and authorized by statute, were not sufficient for the Jersey City Police Department (“JCPD”). JCPD also asked him to fill out its own “Firearms Applicant Questionnaire”, as well as three other forms created by the JCPD Firearms Licensing Unit. McGovern refused to complete the additional JCPD forms. He was also asked to provide additional information concerning three Florida arrests that occurred 10 or more years ago, but did not do so. JCPD disapproved McGovern’s application, and he requested a hearing in the Law Division of the Superior Court. (Incidentally, JCPD was required by statute to act upon the application within 30 days. It took the department five months to notify McGovern that he was denied.) The Law Division refused to grant McGovern’s application, and he appealed.
On appeal, McGovern argued, among other things, that JCPD was expressly precluded by the gun permit statute from demanding information that was not required by applicable law. As to this issue, the Appellate Division noted that the JCPD forms were problematic because they required substantially more information that that called for by the applicable statute and the State Police Forms. The JCPD “Firearms Applicant Questionnaire” sought the applicant’s auto plate number, previous addresses, previous employer, as well as the names and ages of all people residing in the applicant’s household. The Appellate Division observed that none of these items were required by the gun permit statute or the State Police forms.
Another JCPD form entitled Firearms Permit Applicant Domestic Violence Disclosure Form” asked whether the applicant, or any member of the applicant’s household was previously or presently the subject of a domestic violence complaint or restraining order. The statute and State Police form asks only whether the applicant is currently subject to a restraining order, and whether the applicant has had a weapon seized because of domestic violence. Further, the JCPD “Authorization Waiver to Release Information” requests the applicant to authorize the release of all information to the police, and to release all persons from any liability that may result from furnishing that information. The statute only requires the applicant to waive the right to confidentiality relating to institutional confinement. There was also an “Information Firearms Permit Recipients” form that required the applicant to acknowledge a series of legal statements pertaining to gun ownership. Continue reading