Firearm fans score another victory in fight to block N.J.’s new gun ban
A federal judge has expanded the number of areas where New Jersey cannot enforce its new gun ban, handing a victory to gun rights advocates who call the new law unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb on Monday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from banning gun owners from taking firearms to parks, beaches, recreation areas and casinos, with Bumb saying plaintiffs face the threat of prosecution for engage in constitutionally protected conduct
“Plaintiffs have made a strong showing of constitutional injury given their Second Amendment rights as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment,” Bumb wrote in Monday’s order. “Plaintiffs allege not a mere constitutional deprivation, but that they fear the threat of serious criminal penalties if they choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
Bumb allowed the ban to stand in several other so-called sensitive places named by the state, including playgrounds and youth sports events. She also allowed it to stand at zoos, airports, movie sets and medical facilities, saying the advocates challenging the new law could not provide proof of standing or any urgent need for a temporary restraining order in those places.
Bumb’s order comes three weeks after she blocked bans, in a separate but related challenge, on weapons in vehicles, on private property, at public libraries and museums, in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and at entertainment facilities such as stadiums, concerts, and theaters. The two cases have since been consolidated, with the latest arguments in the case last Thursday in Camden.
Attorney Daniel Schmutter represents gun rights advocates fighting the ban. He celebrated Bumb’s “innovative interpretation” of categories for sensitive places she agreed with, such as multi-use facilities and schools and educational facilities. In terms of Monday’s decision, schools – where firearms can be banned – do not, for example, close places such as Sunday schools, businesses that provide martial arts training or music schools.
“We were very pleased with the judge’s ruling, which granted us a temporary restraining order on many of our requests,” Schmutter said. “We look forward to the opportunity to extend that relief at the preliminary injunction stage.”
Arguments for that stage have not yet been scheduled.
Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, agreed the ruling paves the way for advocates in their fight to permanently block the new law. Bach’s group is among the plaintiffs in this case.
“This is the beginning of the end for Gov. Murphy’s blatantly unconstitutional new law, which is going down in flames,” Bach said in a statement. “Murphy has clearly demonstrated that constitutional issues are indeed above his pay grade.”
Murphy was widely mocked by conservatives in 2020 when, in response to criticism from Fox News host Tucker Carlson that New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions violated the Bill of Rights, Murphy said that these issues were “above my pay grade.”
Tyler Jones, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said the state will appeal the ruling.
“We are disappointed that the court invalidated common sense restrictions on the right to carry firearms in public, which are fully consistent with the Second Amendment,” Jones said.
In a statement, Attorney General Matt Platkin called the order “bad for public safety and inconsistent with the Second Amendment.”
“We are disappointed that the court has undermined important and long-standing protections against gun violence in our public parks and in casinos,” Platkin said. “But these orders remain temporary, and we look forward to litigating our case, including ultimately on appeal.”
Monday’s ruling comes about five weeks after Murphy signed the new law, a response to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a New York case that overturned requirements that gun owners demonstrate a need to keep guns outside their homes. wear.
Gun rights advocates immediately challenged the ban in New Jersey, arguing that the ban effectively made it impossible to legally carry guns anywhere in the state.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX