This question is extremely complicated. Necessarily, the ultimate answer to the question relates to whether the simple assault conviction resulted from an incidence of domestic violence. If so, according to N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3c, the simple assault conviction in the context of a domestic violence incident would act as a complete bar to receiving a firearms permit.
If the simple assault conviction is not domestic violence related, an individual is not prevented from applying for a firearms permit. This application would be reviewed by the chief of police in the municipality in which the individual resides, or the New Jersey State Police if the municipality did not have a municipal police department.
In such a circumstance, the chief of police or New Jersey State Police would be given discretion concerning approval of the firearms permit application.
It is a reasonable supposition that the firearms permit would be approved if the simple assault conviction were not domestic violence related. In the event that the chief of police or New Jersey State Police denied the firearms permit application because of a simple assault conviction that is not domestic violence related, the applicant would have a right of appeal to the Superior Court to challenge said denial.
Also, an individual with a prior simple assault conviction from three years ago could file a petition for expungement, which is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3, which sets forth that the simple assault conviction could be expunged after 5 years from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation, or release from jail.
If you are interested in a gun permit and need a past NJ arrest expunged, give me a call at 732-625-9661 to discuss your options.