Lieutenant Colonel Terry S. Russell is no stranger to firearms. During his 27 years as a soldier, Russell has “been fully trained and qualified, at a minimum annually, to skillfully employ handguns and rifles.” Now, he is stationed at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal, where he serves as the “Product Manager for the Army’s Individual Weapons and Small Arms program.” This, by all accounts, is a senior role. Picatinny is not merely one installation of many but the national headquarters of the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Lieutenant Colonel Russell oversees not only the weapons on his own base but all “small arms” for the U.S. Department of Defense. There are few people in the United States of America who know more about guns.
And yet the state of New Jersey will not give Russell a concealed-carry permit.
Almost exactly a year ago, Lieutenant Colonel Russell applied for a license so that he might carry a handgun when driving from his base at Picatinny to his home in Oceanport, N.J. In support of his request, Russell explained that “service members, including family members, have been specifically targeted by radical extremist” groups; that the U.S. military has “verified” that “ISIS has placed a significant emphasis to actively identify US military personnel”; and that Picatinny itself had been evacuated recently “due to the discovery of a dry run attempt to drive a Vehicle Borne Improved Explosive Device onto Post.” In addition, Russell noted that he has been “vetted through the Department of Defense security office every five years for the past 25 years”; that he has a “Top Secret (TS) Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearance”; and that he is already in possession of a “Texas concealed handgun license.”