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Tipsheet

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of New Jersey Gun Control Law

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

On Monday, a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of a New Jersey gun control law that puts restrictions on where concealed carry permit holders may carry their firearms over “considerable constitutional problems.”

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U.S. District Court Judge Renee Marie Bumb, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, issued a temporary restraining order against parts of the law, including one that prohibits guns from being carried in public libraries, museums, bars or restaurants that serve alcohol, and entertainment venues, according to Politico. Another provision of the law banning guns from being carried on private property where the owner did not explicitly grant permission was blocked, as well as one that prohibits guns from being carried in vehicles unless the firearms are unloaded and stored in a closed area. 

Reportedly, Second Amendment rights groups targeted portions of the law that would be “easy” to overturn. A lawsuit was filed “within seconds” of the law going into effect, Fox News reported.

“We chose wisely in what we were challenging so we could quickly get a temporary restraining order,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Politico.“So instead of challenging the whole law in New Jersey, we challenged the most egregious parts. … because we wanted to win and we wanted to win it fast.”

In her order, Bumb cited the Supreme Court’s decision last summer that struck down an unconstitutional gun control law in New York that required residents to show “proper cause” to obtain a concealed carry permit. 

“The New Jersey legislation at issue here was enacted in response to the United States Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n Inc. v. Bruen, holding that ‘the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Bumb’s ruling said. “The Bruen court struck down a New York statute that required an applicant for a permit to carry a handgun to demonstrate ‘proper cause,’ and, in doing so, acknowledged the unconstitutionality of analogous statutes in other states that required a ‘showing of some additional special need,’ such as New Jersey’s law that required an applicant to show ‘justifiable need’ for a permit to carry.”

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According to Fox News, New Jersey failed to show that concealed carry permit holders are responsible for increased gun violence, which was why the law was enacted.

"[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," the opinion said. 

This year, in the Supreme Court’s 6-3 Bruen ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, pointing out that the right to bear arms should not be subject to a different set of rules apart from the other rights detailed in the Bill of Rights.

The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self defense. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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The Supreme Court’s decision kickstarted a slew of decisions from federal judges that struck down gun control laws, such as laws in Tennessee and Massachusetts

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