In New Jersey, Some Justice Is Done

The Second Amendment Foundation sent out the following yesterday afternoon. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state of New Jersey, Jeffrey Muller was finally granted a handgun carry permit by Judge David Ironson. Back in March, this same judge had denied it. I’m not sure what changed the judge’s mind but it is about damn time.


BELLEVUE, WA – A New Jersey judge today announced he will issue a gun permit to one of the plaintiffs in a Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit against several New Jersey officials for deprivation of civil rights under color of law, because applicants cannot show a “justifiable need” for a permit.

SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said today this “clearly indicates that our lawsuit is proper, and we are encouraged to press our case to its conclusion.”

Morris County Superior Court Judge David Ironson announced after a hearing in his courtroom this morning that a permit will be issued to lead plaintiff Jeffrey Muller. His application had languished for six months before Judge Philip Maenza, a defendant in the federal lawsuit, denied the permit without a hearing on the grounds that Muller did not have a “justifiable need.” Muller had been kidnapped by members of a motorcycle gang who threatened to kill him, in a case of mistaken identity. Several suspects have been arrested in that case, and Muller’s application for a permit had gained support from local and state police.

“Finally,” Gottlieb said, “one judge has done the right thing, but it took a federal lawsuit to make it happen. Our other plaintiffs are pushing ahead with the lawsuit so we can put an end to this practice once and for all.”

SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. and several private citizens whose applications for permits to carry have been denied generally on the grounds that they have not shown a “justifiable need.” One of the remaining plaintiffs is a part-time sheriff’s deputy, a second carries large amounts of cash in his private business and another is a civilian employee of the FBI in New Jersey who is fearful of attack from a radical Islamic fundamentalist group. They are represented by attorney David D. Jensen.

“We’re moving forward with this case,” Gottlieb stated, “because there are far too many people just like Jeff Muller whose civil rights have been cavalierly denied on the whims of a judge.”

Ian Argent has some comments on it here. As Ian lives in New Jersey, I think he has a better perspective than most.

“In this case, a well-earned gun permit “

The Star-Ledger of Newark is the largest newspaper in the state of New Jersey. It calls itself “The Voice of New Jersey”.  It has traditionally been very pro-gun control.

I wrote a few days ago about the denial of a concealed carry permit for Jeff Muller by Judge David Ironson. Judge Ironson found that Mr. Muller failed to provide proof “of justifiable need”. This despite Mr. Muller being a kidnapping victim who still fears violence from his kidnappers or their families.

I thought Judge Ironson’s decision was ridiculous. I am not alone. The Star-Ledger Editorial Board agrees. In an editorial entitled In this case, a well-earned gun permit, the Star-Ledger said:

Even the staunchest proponents of gun control must admit Jeffrey Muller has a good reason for wanting to pack a handgun.

After describing the ordeal that Mr. Muller endured, they noted he felt unsafe.

Now, lo and behold, the man feels unsafe. He wants a gun permit, because he fears avenging family members of the arrested kidnappers may attack him again. But a Superior Court judge in Morristown this week denied his second request for the permit, saying he provided “no proof of justifiable need” to carry a weapon.

Come again? This guy has more reason than anyone to take advantage of his Second Amendment rights. For God’s sake, give this poor Muller his gun.

If even the Star-Ledger Editorial Board can see that Mr. Muller has a good reason for a concealed carry permit, then what is wrong with the judges in the state of New Jersey that they fail to comprehend that Jeff Muller still faces danger? Does living in a world where their own security is provided for by the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey in the form of armed court bailiffs blind these judges to the real dangers faced by ordinary people? The answer is unfortunately but obviously yes.

What The Hell Is Wrong With Judges In New Jersey?

Jeff Muller was kidnapped from his pet foods store in Newton, New Jersey last year. The five kidnappers from Missouri thought Muller was the man who had swindled one of their friends. The only problem is that they had the wrong Jeff Muller.

Photo by Lake Ozark Police Department

Fortunately, Mr. Muller was able to escape his kidnappers in Missouri when their car broke down. After his return to New Jersey,  he applied for a concealed carry permit in New Jersey as, at the time, some of the kidnappers were still at large. While approved for it by the NJ State Police, he was turned down by Judge Philip Maenza. This denial is at the heart of the Second Amendment Foundation case brought challenging NJ’s concealed carry laws.

Fast forward to today. In Morris County Superior Court, Judge David Ironson denied Mr. Muller’s appeal of his permit denial saying that “failed to provide ‘proof of justifiable need’ to carry a handgun and said he should take his case to a state appeals court.” Currently, four of the five kidnappers are in jail awaiting trial in Sussex County, NJ. However, the fifth kidnapper, Roy Slates, has served his time and is now out of prison.

As Mr. Muller said:

In an interview after the hearing, Muller said he needs to carry a handgun because “there’s the potential” of the five kidnappers’ family members “coming after me to get revenge.”

“They could send anybody out after me,” Muller said, noting that “the way we live has changed” since the ordeal. “Everything’s locked,” he said.

“I think about it every day,” Muller said. “I look at everybody who comes in my store.”

If anyone has ever met the definition of “justifiable need” for the State of New Jersey to approve a concealed carry permit it is Jeff Muller.

Judge Ironson has been on the bench since 2008. Before his being named a Superior Court judge, David Ironson was a personal injury lawyer. You would think that even a pond-scum sucking ambulance chaser might recognize that the concept of “justifiable need” applied in Jeff Muller’s case.

Independence. Integrity. Fairness. Quality Service. Those words are emblazoned under the logo of the New Jersey Court system. Judge Ironson just made a mockery of at least two of them.