'Unconstitutional': Restrictive New Jersey Concealed-Carry Law Blocked By Court

Emma Campbell | May 19, 2023
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A federal judge has expanded her previous block of a New Jersey gun reform law, halting the enforcement of “unconstitutional” provisions in the bill.

U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb issued preliminary injunctions Tuesday on several of the law’s provisions, an expansion of the temporary restraining order she delivered in January.

The new order suspends many of the restrictions on where gun owners can legally carry a gun and halts the implementation of requiring in-person character reference interviews and liability insurance for gun owners.

Related: Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban on Selling Handguns To 18-to-20-Year-Olds

Several plaintiffs, including the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, filed a complaint in federal court the day Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill in December. Their reasoning was on the basis that the law violated the Second Amendment.

“This is a major victory for the Second Amendment. The judge enjoined huge portions of the law and recognized the supreme significance and importance of the fundamental right to bear arms,” Daniel Schmutter, attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “We’re very glad that she was able to see the really gross constitutional violations of much of this law.”

Part of Bumb’s reasoning for her injunctions is because the “legislation is aimed primarily—not at those who unlawfully possess firearms—but at law-abiding citizens.” Parts of the new law, though, were left untouched, as they are generally “consistent with the Second Amendment.”

The gun reform legislature was introduced to state lawmakers in response to the ruling of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen which upheld the constitutional right to carry a gun without having a “proper cause.” New Jersey law at the time required gun owners to show a “justifiable need” to take a gun outside of their home or business, but that legislation was struck down by the finding of Bruen.

NJ Attorney General Matthew Platkin called Bumb’s decision “bad constitutional law and bad for New Jersey” and asserted that it would be “devastating for public safety.” Bumb, however, claimed that the state attorneys should have been better prepared to defend the law, saying that state lawyers failed to bring forth “sufficient historical evidence…to support each aspect of the new legislation.”

For now at least, New Jersey's concealed carry law is more open than in the recent past, pending the final court ruling.

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