TRENTON — Should New Jersey gun owners have the right to be armed in public without having to show an urgent need to do so?

The question arose again Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal in a high-profile lawsuit led by a Sussex County man seeking a permit to carry his handgun outside his house.

In doing so, the high court let stand the state’s requirement that gun owners must demonstrate a “justifiable need” to be armed in public. Both local police and then a state Superior Court judge must approve such permits in New Jersey.

John Drake of Fredon — one of many plaintiffs in the case — said he needs a gun for personal protects because he services ATM machines for a living and carries large amounts of cash.

“It seems unreasonable to me to have to wait until you’re beaten up or shot at to get a permit,” Drake told The Star-Ledger in February.

The National Rifle Association agrees. The gun-rights group and 19 states filed paperwork in the last few months to support Drake’s case.

“Law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to defend themselves beyond their front doorstep,” said Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

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