A federal judge blocked key provisions of New Jersey’s newly implemented gun restrictions on Monday, meaning residents of the state with concealed carry permits can once again bring firearms into libraries, museums and bars while the court battle plays out.
Judge Renee Marie Bumb sided with the coalition of gun owners who sued New Jersey, finding they would suffer from “ongoing injury” if the state’s gun restrictions were to stand.
“The Court knows of no constitutional right that requires this much guesswork by individuals wanting to exercise such right,” Blumb, who was appointed by Pres. George W. Bush in 2006, wrote. “Plaintiffs cannot decipher what constitutes a “sensitive place,” and so they have abandoned their constitutional right to bear arms out of fear of criminal penalty.”
Matthew Platkin, New Jersey’s attorney general, told the New York Times the state planned to appeal. His office didn’t immediately return a request for further comment right away.
“We are disappointed by the court’s ruling, which is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and will make New Jerseyans considerably less safe,” he said. “But this temporary order is just that: temporary.”
Alexander Roubian, the president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, one of the groups suing, told NJ Advance Media, they were “ecstatic,” following Monday’s ruling.
“The judge firmly believes the Second Amendment doesn’t include sensitive places and is universal across the country,” Roubian told the publication. Neither he or the lawyers representing the plaintiffs could immediately be reached for further comment.
New York passed similar restrictions that also faced legal challenges, but its laws have been allowed to stand while the challenge makes its way through the courts.
In December, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law some of the strictest gun laws in the country, which required gun owners who wanted concealed carry permits to take safety training, provide character references and buy liability insurance, and barred them from toting their firearms in a lengthy list of newly-defined “sensitive” locations.
Some parts of the law are still in place but Bumb blocked sections identifying an array “sensitive” locations, as well as a restriction that required gun owners to store disassembled firearms in locked boxes in the trunk of their car if they wanted to transport them.
Among the places New Jersey gun owners with conceal carry can now bring their firearms are public libraries, museums, bars and restaurants, theaters, stadiums, museums, arenas, racetracks, concert halls, and most private property unless the owners clearly states guns are allowed.
The plaintiffs in the case had argued the patchwork of restrictions would require them to “navigate a ‘veritable minefield.’”
Judge Bumb agreed: “Their view is a legitimate one,” she wrote.
Tyler Jones, a spokesperson for Gov. Murphy said they’re working with the attorney general on a potential appeal.
“While we are pleased that most of our concealed carry law remains in effect, we are disappointed that a right-wing federal judge, without any serious justification, has chosen to invalidate common sense restrictions around the right to carry a firearm in certain public spaces,” Jones said.