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After N.J. Police Deny Him a Concealed Carry Permit, This Army Lt. Colonel Takes His Case to Court — Here's How the Judge Ruled


"Putting New Jersey's precious gun laws over national security is both absurd and dangerous."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

On paper, Lt. Col. Terry S. Russell, who has served 27 years in the Army and holds a senior position at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, appears to be the perfect candidate for a concealed carry permit. However, he was recently deemed unworthy of such a license.

Apparently, neither his expertise nor the fact that he works at a military base that has been under threat of terrorist attacks was enough for the state to grant Russell a permit.

In denying the military man's application for a concealed carry permit, Oceanport Police Chief Daniel W. Barcus said Russell was unable to identify a "justifiable need" because there had been no specific attacks or threats made directly to him. And the decision was ultimately taken to the Superior Court, where the police department's decision was backed up.

In a comment to National Review earlier this month, Russell said, "Service members, including family members, have been specifically targeted by radical extremist groups," adding that the military has "verified" that "[the Islamic State] has placed a significant emphasis to actively identify U.S. military personnel" — a position that has been confirmed by both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Additionally, Russell is subject to a vetting process conducted by the Department of Defense every five years and holds Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance. At the Picatinny Arsenal, Russell serves as the "Product Manager for the Army’s Individual Weapons and Small Arms program."

Picatinny also houses the headquarters of the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Russell oversees the weapons on that base and all "small arms" for the U.S. Department of Defense.

However, none of that is enough to make the veteran eligible for a concealed carry permit.

"None of these threats appear to specifically relate to this applicant — he is in no different position than any other person who is assigned to that facility," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.

And Superior Court Judge Joseph Oxley, who presided over a hearing on the decision, agreed with the denial. Though Evan F. Nappen, Russell's attorney, argued that denying the permit "puts national security at risk," Oxley sided with the police department, thanking Russell for his service before rejecting his appeal.

Nappen said he has filed a motion for reconsideration and is currently awaiting response.

"Putting New Jersey's precious gun laws over national security is both absurd and dangerous," he said.

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