A federal judge ruled Monday that a central component of a new law in New Jersey that limits where handguns can be carried is unconstitutional, severely undermining the state’s efforts to create gun-free zones in public places where crowds gather.
Judge Renée Marie Bumb of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey concluded in a sharply penned decision that the half-dozen restrictions passed into law less than three weeks ago were “so extensive and burdensome” that “public armed self-defense is void. ”
Like New York, New Jersey has compiled a comprehensive list of places where gun owners are not allowed to carry guns in response to a Supreme Court ruling in June that loosened restrictions on carrying guns in public.
Judge Bumb’s order at least temporarily prevents New Jersey from enforcing most of the new law and allows licensed gun owners to carry guns in nightclubs, theaters, arenas, concert halls, racetracks, and museums, among other places, until further court orders. immediately allows.
Judge Bumb, who was nominated for life by President George W. Bush in 2006, wrote, “As the plaintiffs complain, the contested provisions compel a person permitted to carry firearms in New Jersey to “wander through a real minefield.”
“The court knows no constitutional right that requires so much guesswork by those who want to exercise such a right,” he added.
State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin noted that the decision is not final and will be appealed.
“We are disappointed by the Court’s decision, which is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and would have made New Jerseyans significantly less safe,” said Mr Platkin. “But this temporary order is just that: temporary.”
A spokesman for Governor Philip D. Murphy stressed that much of the law, including limits on who can obtain a handgun license and strict rules on safety training and insurance, was unaffected by the decision of a “right-wing federal judge.”
“We are working closely with the attorney general’s office to correct this erroneous decision and ensure that the law is fully reinstated,” spokesman Tyler Jones said in a statement.
The decision resulted from a challenge by four gun rights organizations – the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition Inc., the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners and the Second Amendment Society of New Jersey – and three New Jersey gun owners.
“Clearly New Jersey lawmakers have gone too far in drafting legislation to circumvent the supreme court ruling,” Alan M. Gottlieb, vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in a statement.