Army LTC denied weapons permit despite terror threat

A Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army was denied a concealed carry permit by the state of New Jersey, with state officials citing that the Army officer had “no justifiable need” to carry a sidearm in public.

According to The Washington Times, Lieutenant Colonel Terry S Russell -a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance holder and product manager for the Army’s Individual Weapons and Small arms program at Picatinny Arsenal- applied for a New Jersey carry permit, citing the documented threat of a previous “dry run” terror plot on the installation as his reasoning behind wanting to protect himself.

Despite the threat of terror toward both the installation and personnel on and off duty, Oceanport Police Chief Daniel W. Barcus denied the Army field officer a permit- a decision that was backed up by Superior Court Judge Joseph Oxley.

With concealed carry legal in all fifty states, New Jersey is only one of only nine states -the majority being North Atlantic states along with California and Hawaii- that will only issue a concealed carry permit if an eligible applicant can provide a “justifiable need”, also known as “May-Issue” states. “May-Issue” states vary from their 41 counterparts, who either issue to eligible persons upon request (“Shall-Issue”) or have no requirement for a permit in order to carry (“Constitutional Carry”).

However, the state of New Jersey, concealed carry permits are normally considered quite difficult to obtain- even for a Lieutenant Colonel with 27 years of service who cited that he feared for his safety.

“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 in a letter to the judge after Russell appealed the police chief’s decision in January.

Gramiccioni said that if Russell were granted a permit on the grounds of protection, other soldiers stationed at Picatinny Arsenal may apply for carry permits using the same reasoning.

Despite Russell’s attorney Evan F. Nappen arguing that the denial “puts national security at risk,” Judge Oxley sided with the Oceanport Chief of Police during the April 5th hearing- ironically thanking the Lieutenant Colonel for his service before rejecting his appeal to exercise his Second Amendment right.

As of 2014, only 496 of the approximately 8.9 million New Jersey residents were issued concealed carry permits, according to an Open Public Records request by Citizens for a Safer New Jersey. Each permit is only valid for two years.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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