Federal judge temporarily blocks portions of New Jersey’s new gun law


Much of the new law — which also overhauled the process for obtaining a concealed carry permit as well as mandated the purchase of liability insurance for gun carriers — remains unaffected. Most of the 25 “sensitive places” where guns are banned, including government buildings, transportation hubs and hospitals, likewise were not affected.

Gun rights groups said they targeted certain parts of the law they believed would be easiest to overturn.

“We chose wisely in what we were challenging so we could quickly get a temporary restraining order,” Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation which is leading the legal challenge, said in an interview. “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.”

The constitutionality of the new law has been a central point of debate, with Republicans and gun-rights groups saying it would not stand up to a court challenge. Senate Republican Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) said in a statement that Monday’s order “validates what [Republicans] have been saying [and] is a victory for the 2nd Amendment.”

In her 60-page opinion, Bumb appeared incredulous that some of the “sensitive places” would withstand a challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court said in its ruling that states could create limits on where guns could be carried, but only if the prohibitions are analogous to historical regulations.

“The State may regulate conduct squarely protected by the Second Amendment only if supported by a historical tradition of firearm regulation,” Bumb, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, 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.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office pushed back on the ruling, calling it an “errant” decision from a “right-wing federal judge.”

New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin said the ruling was “inconsistent” with gun rights.

“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.

Bumb will decide later whether to issue a preliminary injunction, which would block parts of the law from taking effect until a final judgment is made. Another federal lawsuit challenging the new law, led by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, is ongoing.

New York, which has enacted similar laws to restrict gun carry rights, is facing similar legal challenges to its new laws.

Read the judge’s order and opinion .


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