By John Petrolino
[Glassboro, NJ…] After two weeks of several deadly shootings, a slightly ignored case continues to build traction. Cheeseman Vs. Pollillo was filed with the Supreme Court of The United States in June and it is gaining momentum.
In the United States, there are four different types of jurisdictions concerning the concealed carry of firearms. That is, the lawful and permitted carry of a loaded firearm on one’s person for self defense and lawful purposes. The jurisdictions are: Shall issue, which means the issuing authority will issue permits to those that have no criminal history. Constitutional Carry, which means if you are lawful to own a firearm, you may carry one without a permit. May issue, which means the issuing authority may or may not grant permits based on the information available and level of “need.” And there is the special “May Issue” that is law in states like NJ, NY, CA, HI, MD, etc.
“May Issue” in New Jersey is practically, no issue. The legislature helped solidify this by passing a series of gun control bills last year. One in particular added to the statute a definition of “Justifiable Need.” In plain English, a law-abiding citizen, regular Joe, will not be able to get a permit to carry in NJ unless they are able to show they have been previously attacked, multiple times, or there have been multiple previous specific threats to the person. Therefore, New Jersey is a “no issue” state.
Mark Cheeseman aims to change this in New Jersey and now the country. After applying for a concealed carry permit and being denied, Cheeseman knew he had to do something to enact change to these laws. Mark was not happy with the direction his neighborhood was going and wanted to be able to better protect himself and his family. After his denial, he turned to other possible self-defense options. In New Jersey? Three-quarters of one ounce of pepper spray is all a normal citizen is allowed to defend themselves with. After his first denial, Cheeseman with the help of New Jersey Second Amendment Society, fought and had overturned the state’s ban on stun guns or tasers.
Cheeseman, a little emboldened by the stun gun/taser win, applied a second time for a concealed carry permit and was yet again denied. He appealed and his case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court of The United States. Not only is the case sitting on the doorstep of the Supreme Court, but now he has some backing. Two friends of the court briefs have been filed in support of Cheeseman. Between the two briefs, the following organizations are represented: Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, California Gun Rights Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation. There are currently none in opposition. The state of New Jersey has refused to reply to the petition by their deadline to do so, a move they also made in a similar case, Rogers Vs. Grewal. Another carry case from NJ. The court did force the State to respond in Rogers yet has not made any directives in Cheeseman.
Firearm enthusiasts and advocates have a long road to travel. In Cheeseman’s case, there are several ones ahead of him already filed with the Supreme Court. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association vs. City of New York, has been granted cert by the high court, a case dealing with the lawful transport of firearms out of the city. At the time of filing, citizens of New York City or the boroughs were not allowed to transport their lawfully owned firearms out of the city to say a second home in upstate New York or even another state. The New York case is important, as it is the first case the high court has agreed to hear since 2010. The previously mentioned Rogers case is also waiting in limbo to find out if it is going to be heard, ahead of Cheeseman.
These cases are gaining attention. In the NY case, this week over 15 organizations representing government entities, police forces or Bloomberg funded groups filed briefs in opposition of the merits of the case. What is clear, the governments in these may/no-issue states do not want law-abiding citizens to be able to carry a firearm, for any reason. They don’t even want a citizen to be able to transport their gun out of their own city. Think about that.
As for Cheeseman? He’s hopeful that his case gets heard but is okay with it being mooted. When discussing it he said “…I’m doing this for the rights of the people in New Jersey. I’m not doing this so just I can have a carry permit. If another case succeeds to make carry the law of the land, all the better.”