IN RE: THE SEIZURE OF THE FIREARMS OR WEAPONS FROM CHRISTIAN D. MOLNAR.
DOCKET NO. A–5886–11T4
-- September 06, 2013
Evan F. Nappen, P.C., attorneys for appellant Christian D. Molnar (Richard V. Gilbert, on the brief).Andrew C. Carey, Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent State of New Jersey (Brian D. Gillet, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief; Matthew P. Tallia, on the brief).
Appellant Christian D. Molnar appeals from a consented-to order of the Family Part that “revoked until further order of the [c]ourt” his “Firearms Purchaser Identification Cards and any other licenses, permits, or authorization for the use, possession or ownership of weapons/firearms in the State of New Jersey.” The order further provided that Molnar would sell his “weapons/firearms” to a firearms dealer licensed in New Jersey within ninety days of the entry of the order, which was issued on July 11, 2012. We affirm.
The genesis of this appeal is found in a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against Molnar on April 24, 2012, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25–17 to –35 (PDVA). At that time, pursuant to the TRO, the Hamilton police department retrieved several firearms and a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card from Molnar, and held them in safekeeping.
On April 30, 2012, a final restraining order (FRO) was entered against Molnar by the Family Part, but two weeks later, on May 14, 2012, the FRO was vacated at the request of the complainant. The firearms were not returned to Molnar.
Instead, on June 18, 2012, pursuant to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's petition, Molnar appeared in the Family Court to address, in a summary proceeding, the State's application for a forfeiture order pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:25–21(d)(3). At that proceeding, the Family Part inquired whether Molnar wanted time to hire an attorney. He replied that he wished to represent himself because, I'm just going to sell [the firearms], if that's possible, and I'm not going to spend the money on [legal representation] because it's not worth it.
The assistant prosecutor indicated that, with respect to Molnar's firearms, there's a two-year wait where the State can ask for them to be destroyed or he can sell them to [a] dealer, but she agreed with Molnar that he would have the right to sell them to a New Jersey licensed dealer. Molnar acknowledged the arrangement by noting, Yeah, I thought that was [the] deal.
Later, in the brief 1 proceedings that ensued, the assistant prosecutor stated, [y]our privileges to own a weapon will be revoked for two years. And after two years, you can bring it back, to which Molnar commented, Okay.
The Family Part acquiesced in the parties' arrangement, and entered the July 11, 2012 order, which conformed to the representations stated on the record. Specifically, the order (1) provided for the sale of Molnar's firearms to a firearms dealer licensed in New Jersey within [ninety] days of signed Order, and (2) revoked his Firearms Purchaser Identification Card until further order of the court. In addition, the order stated, [Molnar] may reapply on or after April 30, 2014 based on issuance of FV12–002027 dated April 30, 2012. Although invited to object to the court's order before it was signed, Molnar declined to do so. This appeal followed.
On appeal, Molnar argues that the order must be modified to properly embody the spirit of the parties' agreement because of what he claims are conflicting provisions of New Jersey firearms statutes. He further raises, for the first time on appeal, a contention that N.J.S.A. 2C:25–29(b) is unconstitutional as being violative of the Second Amendment. U.S. Const. amend. II. We consider all of Molnar's arguments to be wholly lacking in merit as to not warrant extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11–3(e)(1)(E). Nevertheless, we add the following brief comments.
For more than sixty years, our appellate jurisprudence has recognized that a consent order will generally serve to bar review on appeal. See Winberry v. Salisbury, 5 N.J. 240, 255, cert. denied, 340 U.S. 877, 71 S.Ct. 123, 95 L. Ed. 638 (1950); Janicky v. Point Bay Fuel, Inc., 410 N.J.Super. 203, 207 (App.Div.2009). To the extent Molnar may still have the opportunity to attack (or obtain clarification of) the consent order in question an issue we need not decide he must first seek relief from that order in the Family Part. See DEG, LLC v. Twp. of Fairfield, 198 N.J. 242, 260–61 (2009).
As for Molnar's constitutional challenge to N.J.S.A. 2C:25–29(b)'s supposed infringement on his constitutional right to keep arms as defined by current Second Amendment jurisprudence, we note that he did not raise this argument in the Family Part, and for that reason alone, we could decline to consider it. Neider v. Royal Indem. Ins. Co., 62 N.J. 229, 234 (1973).
Notwithstanding, we find the argument has no merit because Second Amendment rights are not immune from “reasonable limitations.” Crespo v. Crespo, 201 N.J. 207, 210 (2010); see also In re Pantano, 429 N.J.Super. 478, 487 (App.Div.), certif. granted, _ N.J. _ (2013); State v. Reininger, 430 N.J.Super. 517, 539 (App.Div.2013).
1. FN1. The transcript provided on appeal indicates that the duration of the hearing was less than two minutes.