A significant victory has been secured for the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and its partners in a lawsuit against New Jersey’s revised gun permit law, Chapter 131.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in New Jersey partially granted a preliminary injunction against specific aspects of the law.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Renee Marie Bumb provided a comprehensive 235-page ruling in which she condemned much of Chapter 131 as unconstitutional.
“The Constitution leaves the States some measures to combat handgun violence. But what the Second Amendment prohibits the States from doing, and what the State of New Jersey has done here with much of Chapter 131, is to ‘prevent law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.’ That is plainly unconstitutional,” Judge Bumb stated in her ruling.
The judge noted that the Bruen case necessitated the State to align its firearm laws with the Second Amendment. But, according to Judge Bumb, the State’s response, Chapter 131, overstepped its bounds and resulted in a law that would have alarmed Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, as it disarms law-abiding citizens, thereby worsening their situation while aiding the assailants.
SAF is accompanied in the lawsuit by the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, New Jersey Second Amendment Society, Firearms Policy Coalition, and three private citizens: Nicholas Gaudio, Jeffrey Muller, and Ronald Koons, for whom the case, Koons v. Platkin, is named. The group is represented by attorney David Jensen of Beacon, N.Y.
“Judge Bumb’s ruling clearly recognizes the issues we raised with New Jersey’s restrictive gun law, and she’s fired a legal shot across the state’s bow,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “When New Jersey passed Chapter 131, it did away with the ‘justifiable need’ requirement, but replaced it with an equally egregious ‘sensitive places’ restriction to effectively prohibit carrying a legally-licensed handgun anywhere in the state. That just doesn’t pass the smell test.”
SAF’s executive director and practicing attorney, Adam Kraut, concurred, stating, “Today’s order granting our preliminary injunction against the State of New Jersey’s anti-carry law reaffirms that the rule of law is alive and well.”
“It is unfortunate that a lawsuit was required in order to force the State to respect its residents’ constitutional right to bear arms. We look forward to continuing to litigate these issues in New Jersey, and across the nation, to ensure constitutional rights are not meaningless words on paper,” he added.
Everytown Law, the legal arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, was critical of the ruling.
“Today’s decision will undoubtedly make New Jerseyans less safe. The court’s decision to strike down parts of New Jersey’s law directly undermines public safety and puts our communities at risk,” said Janet Carter, senior director of issues and appeals at Everytown Law.
“Prohibiting guns in sensitive public locations like libraries, zoos, and bars is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment,” Carter continued. “New Jersey’s law is a common-sense approach to improving public safety and reducing senseless gun violence. The court’s ruling cannot stand and we are ready to help fight this dangerous decision on appeal.”