New Jersey’s arcane gun law is preventing some retired cops from getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon, according to a published report.
That’s because the law makes no provisions for retired public university police officers to get one, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
“There seems to be discrepancy in whether [state] university police are viewed as working for a state agency,” attorney Thomas Roughneen told the paper.
He represents John Kotchkowski, 55, and Robert Dunsmuir, 48, two retired University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey police sergeants who were denied right-to-carry permits.
A judge last month refused to grant Kotchkowski a permit on appeal. Dunsmuir’s appeal will be heard next month.
“It’s made me feel like my whole career was a sham, like they’re saying I wasn’t a real cop,” Kotchkowski told the paper Thursday.
He lost his appeal even though other retired campus cops have won theirs, the paper reported.
Kotchkowski and Dunsmuir both contend they worked for a state agency and thus should be granted a conceal carry permit. But the wording of the law doesn’t make that so clear, according to the New Jersey State Police, which oversees the permit process.
“How are UMDNJ police not a state law enforcement agency?” Roughneen asked, according to the Star-Ledger. “By that logic, that makes the entire Rutgers police force — which is one of the largest in the state — ineligible. And that flies in the face of the intent of the law, which is to increase public safety.”
The law was enacted in 1997 after the murder of a police chief who was killed when he tried to thwart the Newark carjacking of an elderly couple, the paper reported.
One of the officers involved in the pursuit of the killers in that case was Kotchkowski.
He and Dunsmuir worked on a stolen car task force with cops from Newark and the city of Elizabeth while on the job.
“Carjackings. Armed robberies, Domestics,” Kotchkowski told the paper. “We did everything city cops did.”