In an effort to keep guns away from dangerously unstable individuals, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson) has introduced legislation that would require individuals applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or a handgun purchase permit in New Jersey to submit the results of a psychological evaluation before they can buy a gun or a firearm.
New Jersey requires the completion of a number of steps before issuing a license to possess a firearm in the state. An individual must be granted a Firearms Purchaser Identification card (FID) to buy any firearm, and a Handgun Purchase Permit to buy a handgun. Currently, a person applying for an FID and/or a permit to purchase a handgun must consent to a mental health records search.
Jimenez’s bill would mandate individuals submit the results of a psychological evaluation administered by an appropriate health care professional licensed in the state as part of the application process.
“This is an attempt to protect the public from individuals who could pose a safety threat if allowed to purchase firearms. We cannot wait for the next tragedy before we become more vigilant about who we allow to carry these deadly weapons,” said Jimenez. “This bill would require individuals who want to purchase a gun in New Jersey to undergo a psychological evaluation similar to what our police officers must go through. Too many lives have been senselessly lost. This bill adds a layer of protection to the process to help keep guns away from people who have no business carrying them.”
Under the bill (A-3676), the state police superintendent would be responsible for issuing guidelines concerning the content of the psychological examination, the qualifications necessary to administer the psychological examination, maintaining confidentiality of the subject of the examination, compliance with federal law and any other guideline the superintendent deems necessary.
The bill would also require applicants to have an on-site inspection and evaluation of the household where the firearm will be located. The purpose of the inspection and evaluation is to ensure the person meets all the qualifications to purchase a firearm.
“The Newtown shooting was the most recent reminder of the devastation that can be caused when guns end up in the hands of the wrong people. Let’s make sure we are not arming individuals who have serious mental health issues and can end up hurting themselves, as well as innocent others,” said Jimenez.