By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Philadelphia has upheld New Jersey’s requirement that those seeking a permit to carry a handgun must provide a reason for it.

But opponents vow to carry on their fight.

New Jersey is one of a handful of states with a “justifiable need” provision in its gun-carry permitting process.  Most other states never ask why someone seeks a permit to carry a handgun.

Washington, DC-based attorney Alan Gura, representing those who want to overturn New Jersey’s regulation, says he is undaunted by the split decision against his clients.

“If you have a right to bear arms, and the Constitution says that you do, then whatever else the state might do, it can’t say that you’re not entitled to exercise the right unless they agree that it happens to be a good idea,” he said today.

Gura will appeal to the full Third Circuit Court of Appeals and then, potentially, to the US Supreme Court.  But the justices declined to consider a similar regulation in New York State a few months ago.