New Law Enforcement Directives to Scrutinize Firearm Carry Applications and Minimize Gun Crime in NJ


New directives designed to monitor the effects of the surge in firearm carry applications and facilitate crime resolution through expeditious submission of ballistic evidence.

In response to the escalating instances of gun-related crimes and the rise in firearm carry applications, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today unveiled two law enforcement directives aimed at creating a safer environment for New Jersey residents. 

These initiatives stem from the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that extended the right to carry firearms in public, sparking a subsequent rise in carry permit applications.

The first directive, titled Directive 2023-02, mandates all law enforcement agencies involved in processing permits to carry handguns to report anonymized data on completed applications dating back to December 2019. This reporting will be executed monthly and continue indefinitely, ensuring the collection of the most current and comprehensive data. 

To streamline this process, the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) will establish a centralized web portal for issuing permits. Once this portal is operational, local law enforcement agencies will no longer be required to report data, and the NJSP will undertake this responsibility.

The objective behind this massive data collection and analysis initiative is to create policy guided by facts that can effectively enhance public safety across the state. Furthermore, it will provide valuable insights into resource allocation and administration efficiency in processing carry permit applications.

Commenting on the directive, Attorney General Platkin said, "Law enforcement is now the ultimate decision maker in approving or denying applications for permits to carry handguns, and we must be aware of the impact. By implementing these reporting procedures, we will gain better insight into the effect of a higher prevalence of handguns being carried in New Jersey due to the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, and be able to implement public safety policy that is data-informed.”

The second directive issued by AG Platkin is an amendment to the Law Enforcement Directive 2008-01. It focuses on hastening the submission of ballistics evidence collected at crime scenes to forensic labs that can analyze the evidence through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), operated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The directive imposes a strict deadline of two business days for law enforcement to submit ballistics evidence, thus increasing the chances of tracing the firearm to any other criminal incident or individual. It builds on the NJ Trace System established by the NJSP as per the original directive, which integrated several law enforcement databases to aid in retrieving information related to firearms and ballistic evidence.

AG Platkin emphasized the critical role of rapid information gathering in combating gun violence, stating, "The success of our gun violence reduction efforts depends on effective information-sharing and the timely entry and analysis of ballistics evidence.”

Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, praised the directives, highlighting the need for tracking data on concealed carry permits and the urgency of linking firearms to crimes. 

The directives were also lauded by Sam Levy, Regional Legal Director of Everytown for Gun Safety, for their potential in establishing robust gun safety laws.

These new directives are a part of AG Platkin’s comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence statewide. 

Last year, Platkin founded the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement Office (SAFE), a pioneering initiative that focuses on holding members of the firearms industry accountable for law violations. 

The Attorney General also initiated the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) to consolidate services for victims and violence intervention programs.

The Gun Violence Reduction Task Force, under AG Platkin, works diligently to identify and prosecute violent recidivists in collaboration with federal, state, and county law enforcement partners. 

The directives issued today are the latest additions to the Attorney General’s ongoing efforts to address the scourge of gun violence in New Jersey through innovative programming, stringent gun laws, and public safety enhancement policies.

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