Despite this story coming out of South Jersey, it resonated with me.

http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2015/06/berlin_murder_victim_told_neighbor_about_gun_permi.html#incart_river

A couple of years ago, I decided to go through the process and get a gun permit. It took a few months. (December to April if memory serves.) It is, as designed, to be a pain. And the process is kind of over-the-top stupid.

It involved:

  • Go to the Cranford Township Municipal Building and complete a bunch of forms.
  • Send Reference Letters to three friends (not family members) who can vouch for your non-craziness (note to authorities – if you’re crazy, it is probable you have crazy friends…so that sort of mitigates the reference check part, doesn’t it?) The friends I sent it to were all gun owners, so I knew they would be supportive and would actually send it back.
  • Go down to South Plainfield and get fingerprinted.
  • Wait for State Police background check to complete.
  • Wait.
  • Pay fees and get a permit card with then-Chief Eric Mason’s signature.

Then and only then could I look at buying something. And when I did buy something (I even bought out-of-state which made the process more involved) it took a couple more weeks. When purchasing, the store did an immediate background check with the Feds anyway after I gave my license and permit; then my only option was to have it shipped to a dealer in NJ since I couldn’t put it in my car since I was across state lines. Then after paying the dealer in Rahway a fee to receive it and add it to the database, I got it.

I can’t say that the town took forever, but it did take a while for the background check, the reference letters, and the fingerprinting to get done.

The most interesting thing to me? No requirement for a gun safety course. I think even Texas makes you take a gun safety course. Thankfully I have people who walked me through safe handling and cleaning (even though I had a pretty good idea already).

The process could use a lot of improvement, especially with improvements in technology. And now there is a bill to reduce the wait times for those with restraining orders.

Too bad Carol Bowne didn’t get her chance to get through the process. She may still be with us.

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