Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Federal Court Partially Blocks New Jersey Gun-Control Law

'The State may regulate conduct squarely protected by the Second Amendment only if supported by a historical tradition of firearm regulation...'

(Headline USAA federal judge this week partially blocked a New Jersey gun-control law that effectively prevented citizens from carrying a firearm anywhere outside their homes.

U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb issued a temporary restraining order against certain provisions in the law, including one that prohibited guns from “sensitive locations,” such as restaurants, libraries and museums. Another provision blocked would have restricted people from possessing firearms in their cars unless the weapon was unloaded.

“At oral argument, this Court specifically pressed the State whether it had empirical evidence to suggest that concealed carry permit holders are responsible for gun crimes or an increase in gun crimes in New Jersey, which they cite as justification for the law. However, the State had no such evidence,” Bumb wrote in the ruling.

The law, signed in late December, declared more than two dozen “sensitive locations” in an effort to restrict concealed carry licenses. 

Bumb argued that the law is out of step with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which held that individuals have the right to carry a firearm outside the home and that laws restricting concealed carry must be consistent with the country’s “historical tradition.”

“The State may regulate conduct squarely protected by the Second Amendment only if supported by a historical tradition of firearm regulation,” Bumb wrote. “Here, Plaintiffs have shown that Defendants will not be able to demonstrate a history of firearm regulation to support any of the challenged provisions.”

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, a Democrat, said in a statement that he is “disappointed” with the court’s ruling and vowed to appeal it.

“We are disappointed by the Court’s ruling, which is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and will make New Jerseyans considerably less safe,” Platkin said in a statement. “But this temporary order is just that: temporary. And we look forward to continuing to press our case, including ultimately on appeal.”

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