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Experienced U.S. Army Soldier Denied Gun Permit Despite Working Under Terrorist Threats

May 23, 2016

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Terry S. Russell was denied in his application to receive a conceal-carry permit in the state of New Jersey due to his inability to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to have the permit. This is despite Russell’s military base having received threats towards military personnel and their families.


Russell currently has a senior position in the Picatinny Arsenal in Wharton, NJ. The United States Military confirmed that the military base that Russel works at has received threats towards military personnel and their families. His application reads “service members, including family members, have been specifically targeted by radical extremists.”

Russell said the Picatinny website has been hacked previously in order to “obtain personal military member and family information.” He also says there was a “full evacuation of the arsenal due to “the discovery of a dry run attempt to drive a Vehicle Borne Improved Explosive Device onto Post.”

Oceanport Police Chief Daniel W. Barcus denied Russel’s application, despite his proven expertise in the field, because he could not demonstrate a “justifiable need” for the conceal-carry permit.

Under New Jersey state laws, a person applying for a conceal-carry permit need to demonstrate the need. As a result, very few permits have been approved in the state, and most of them are held by retired law enforcement officials. This is only a recent change in gun control laws for the state. The change was brought about after Carol Bowne was killed by her ex-boyfriend while awaiting approval for a gun permit.

Russell appealed the case to Superior Court, but Russell was still denied the 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 Gramiccioni said in a letter to Judge Joseph Oxley. He states that if Russell receives a permit, then all of the other employees will be allowed to conceal-carry.

Russell says that he has received extensive training over the course of the past 27 years he has served in the U.S. Military. He also says he has been “vetted through the Department of Defense security office every five years for the past 25 years,” that allows him access to Top Secret Sensitive Information.

Russell’s attorney stated, “Failure to issue Lt. Col. Russell a carry permit puts national security at risk,” and that he needs to protect himself and “the military intelligence he possesses,” since he is in charge of weapons and development as well as the procurement of firearms.