When last we spoke, I was in the process of purchasing my first firearm. As intimidating as I thought it was going to be, the experience was actually anything but.

I always thought it would be so difficult to even obtain a firearm because of all the oppressive laws here in New Jersey. And that even if I owned one, I would never really have the freedom to use it if my family were being threatened.

But recent Supreme Court challenges have made it easier for people to be able to defend themselves here in New Jersey.

I had heard nightmares about trying to get through the first phase of gun ownership. Just getting the license you need to purchase a firearm.

But in my case, it was simple. I sent in an application to my local police department, and very soon after, was fingerprinted and received a call two weeks later, saying that for seven bucks I could go and pick up my license.

That’s when I realized I was really on my way.

Judi Franco / Townsquare Media
Judi Franco / Townsquare Media

I have heard other women and men in my position worrying about the first step. But trust me, at least where I live, Ocean Township, Monmouth County, their well-oiled machine of a police department made it a breeze.

After my initial training, at We Shoot in Lakewood, when it was time for me to decide which gun would best suit my needs, the pros at we shoot were with me every step of the way helping me make this very critical decision.

Judi Franco / Townsquare Media
Judi Franco / Townsquare Media

With their certified instructors and dedicated staff guiding me, I experienced what can only be described as a thoughtful, safety-first journey.

Starting with private lessons, I familiarized myself with firearm safety, test-fired different firearms, and finally purchased the one that fits my needs.

Judi Franco / Townsquare Media
Judi Franco / Townsquare Media

If you’re on the fence about being a gun owner or have been thinking about it for a while, the time is now. I especially encourage women to do so.

As We Shoot wrote on their Instagram account about my experience, “the journey to responsible firearm ownership is not just about the purchase, it's about empowering yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary for safety and proficiency.”


Places in New Jersey where you can now carry a legal gun

New Jersey passed its own law in December, trying to ban legal guns from “sensitive places.” 

A federal judge found many of those spots to be legally protected on grounds of armed self-defense, noting in her opinion, “Crowded locations are not sensitive places."

As of June, an appeals court allowed NJ to enforce most of the law while the case proceeds - but not carry bans on private property by default, in vehicles and on film sets.

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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