BREAKING: 3rd District Court Upholds NJ’s One-Gun-a-Month Law

Frank Caso, in his Caso’s Gun-A-Rama in Jersey City. (courtesy nytimes.com)

“New Jersey’s law that limits handgun purchases to one per month was just upheld by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals creating a federal law foundation for other states to follow,” Larry Bodine writes at huffingtonpost.com. [Click here for the ruling.] ”So far, California and Maryland have one-gun-a-month laws along with the Garden State, which has among the strongest gun laws in the country.” I don’t think “strongest” means what I wish it meant. Anyway, Bodine wastes no time both gloating and putting the boot to the NRA. “The challenge to the New Jersey One Gun law came from a unit of the NRA, the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs. The NRA has pursued a strategy of using litigation to eliminate gun-safety laws one at a time, which increases the sales and profits of the arms industry that funds the NRA . . . New Jersey could set a national precedent.” Heaven forfend.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

80 Responses to BREAKING: 3rd District Court Upholds NJ’s One-Gun-a-Month Law

  1. avatarGyufygy says:

    That picture is either a historical relic or a creation of Industrial Light and Magic.

  2. avatarJoshinGA says:

    So, correct me if Im wrong, but it only takes one gun for a criminal to kill someone (ignoring the obvious fact that criminals dont buy guns at gunshops or by any legal means and that by definition criminals do not follow the law). How is this going to prevent crime? Oh, it isnt and was only intended to be a nuisance to law abiding gun owners? Got it.

    • avatarmountocean says:

      This is just a stepping stone. Once we’re used to it we’ll move to a one bullet at a time law. You have to prove that you’ve used your first bullet before you can get another.

      And yes, I mean bullet. >.5 oz of lead is constructive posession, >2 oz equals intent to sell. Bullet shaped rocks can only be held by cetrified geologists or certified babysitters (ie nannies)

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      I think the stated rationale is to limit the ability of straw purchasers to supply guns to those who can’t pass background checks.

      And yes, I agree with other responders that this is just a way to make it more difficult to buy/own guns, and a single step along the path to the eventual goal of converting all the dogs to sheep.

  3. avatarJSIII says:

    Yeah that picture is not from a NJ gun shop….ever! Unless it is exclusivly for LEO’s that is…

    Hopefully this case along with several others will end up before the SCOTUS sooner rather than later.

  4. avatarAccur81 says:

    Why is it the lawyers and judges don’t understand the Constitution?

    I see things getting substantially worse when Obama’s appointees infest SCOTUS.

    • avatarBob says:

      Why? Follow the money and observe their incentive structure.

    • avatarEagleScout87 says:

      They do understand the Constitution. Make NO mistake about that. They intend to dismantle and rewrite it any way they can.

    • avatarjohnmackay70 says:

      They understand the Constitution just fine – they just don’t want to follow it.

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      They are Progressives. Beyond what do you think they intend to progress? That horrible barrier to their authoritarian/collectivist Utopia that we regard as the sacred foundation and highest law of our nation.

    • avatarJavier says:

      The lawyers and judges (lawyers) make things overly difficult and complex. They already have theirs why should you have any (without paying for your rights). PAY TO PLAY STATE >:(

  5. avatardarkstar says:

    It’s like a very messed up contest to see which state can pass the worst gun laws. And again, as usual, the only people these laws affect are the law abiding gun owners.

  6. avatarpk in AZ says:

    I’m sure all criminals will immediately start obeying….

    /sarc OFF

    • avatarMr. Pierogie says:

      That law has been in effect for a long time, this was just a challenge to get rid of it. Criminals never cared that the rest of us are limited by that stupid law, I’m sure they are in favor of it.

      I posted a comment not too long ago about a district judge who ruled that it’s constitutional in NJ to deny CCW permits to citizens, because the 2A does NOT apply outside the home. After I read that, I knew there is no hope for NJ, so this ruling does not surprise me at all. In fact, I’d be shocked if they ruled the other way and struck this law down.

      • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

        Wait, doesn’t that contradict a supreme court ruling?

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          There are three exceptions to the principal holdings in Heller. These three include only restrictions which are non-prohibitory in regard to the general public. The first exception is that bans on ownership by felons and the mentally ill. The second covers bans on firearms in certain sensitive places, i.e. schools and government buildings. The third exception is allowance for placing conditions and qualifications on commercial sales. No one knows what it means because it hasn’t been at issue in a case before the Supreme Court. The one-a-month (gun-of-the-month club?) rule, if an exception, is a condition or qualification upon commercial sales. It is unclear to me how such a rule can be enforced without a restriction on interstate sales, i.e. my freedom to buy a fine shotgun from a dealer in Dallas. How would they determine I did not buy two? Only through a national system, which cannot be effected through a NJ-only system. It will be interesting to see what SCOTUS says when it gets there, because such a law at the national level clearly requires a national gun registry, perhaps with a time limit on record keeping, a limit no one will believe is for real. I believe SCOTUS is much more likely to approve mandatory time-limited theft-reporting statutes as a means to reduce straw purchasing.

  7. avatarDaniel Silverman says:

    Well the CA one gun a month law has held muster for some time. Over turning that specific law will be difficult.

    • avatarBrooklyn in da house says:

      Isnt it only for new guns? I thought you can buy as many used as you want.

      • avatarjwm says:

        House, it’a 1 handgun a month in Ca. It doesn’t matter if it’s new or used. Shotguns and rifles have no limits. Except of course for the 10 day wait and evil features.

        • avatarBrooklyn in da house says:

          When I bought a new handgun a couple months ago for the first time in Cali i wanted to buy 2 and they told me I could get a new one and used one at the same time but didn’t have anything I wanted used. This is was at target masters. Either way thanks.

        • avatarRedlyr says:

          Fun fact, if you buy private party, there are no limits.

          “While no limitation exists for the number of handguns that you may own, you are generally limited to purchasing no more than one handgun in any 30-day period. Handgun transactions related to law enforcement, private party transfers, returns to owners, and certain other specific circumstances are exempt from the one-handgun-per-30-day limit.

          (PC section 12072(a)(9))”

  8. avatarLance says:

    Have to be a Supreme Court case to kill this law.

  9. avatarInBox485 says:

    So an NRA affiliate pressed a piss poor case against a law using one of the weakest arguments I’ve ever seen, and lost?

    I wish I could post a pic of my shocked face…

  10. avatarElliotte says:

    Got a couple of questions that the Ralph and the lawyers might be able to help me with.

    1) This seems like a pretty short ruling, 8 pages in total, 2 of that are intro/cover pages and the text only goes a few lines onto the last page. I thought opinions were supposed to have more substance to them. Would it being such a short opinion have any effect if this case is appealed to the SC?

    2) The ruling is on a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the one gun a month law. The ruling said that it denied the PI b/c the court thought it wasn’t likely to succeed on the merits of their case. This sounds to me kind of like the ruling you would get asking for a temporary stay of a ruling while awaiting the next level of the court to hear a case. Is the case still going to be heard in the court? Is there still a chance to overturn the law?

    • avatarArmchair Command'oh says:

      At the trial court level, the plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the law. To obtain a preliminary injunction you have to have a likelihood of success on the merits (among other requirements). The state of New Jersey countered with a motion to dismiss. The court denied the preliminary injunction and granted the motion to dismiss, ending the case at the trial court level. The appellate court upheld that dismissal.

      The next step would be to either request en banc review, which means that instead of the case being decided by a panel of three judges, it will be reviewed by all of the appellate judges in the 3rd Circuit, or they can seek a Writ of Certiorari from the Supreme Court, which is how you ask the Supremes to review the case.

      They will probably seek en banc review. Even if that request is denied, they can still seek certiorari.

      • avatarElliotte says:

        So basically the same thing as a regular court case, just in this instance the panel released a very short opinion.

  11. avataramagi says:

    One gun a month is bad…but it is by far not the worst civilian disarmament law we have to contend with here in the North East.

    Magazine Cap limits, infringement on concealed carry (aka exercising your rights outside your own home), Banning guns based on arbitrary cosmetic features, excessive and unfriendly licencing schemes.

    One-gun a month policies are very low on my repeal it now wish list.

    It is still disheartening that the 3rd Circuit Court upheld this infringement.

    • avatarChainsawWieldingManiac says:

      We have a one-a-month limit in Maryland, but you can bypass it by registering as a collector with the cops. One of the local newsmongers tried to do an “expose” on the “loophole”, but no one cared a whit.

      I agree that, of all the laws to fight, it’s probably pretty low on the list.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Yep. At the state level I agree. But imagine how a national implementation would work and it starts to become a bit less benign.

      • avatarjanklow says:

        yeah, i was about to say, Maryland has a relatively painless process to bypass the one-a-month law.

        …although given the state of things, maybe i should have inserted “currently” in that sentence.

  12. avatarScotty Shaw says:

    Maybe the gun companies, retailers and distributors should apply the same constraints to the New Jersey state and municipal agencies……..

    1 gun per month……..

    They should be constrained the same as the citizenry.

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      Didn’t citizens united say that in essence a corporation counts as a person? If so can’t we apply the same reason to police departments and the state? Sell any police department 1 gun a month, sell the state one gun per month. I think they will enjoy that.

    • avatarEvan says:

      One gun a month! I would love to be in a part of this state where you could get 1 gun a month! It takes an average of 3 months to even complete the permit process. Which is required every single time you buy a handgun. EVERY SINGLE TIME. and that’s only if you have enough money to afford the 70$ fingerprint. Every time.

  13. avatarBob says:

    I don’t trust the NRA. I don’t like their inherent conflict of interest. The Heller case was primarily funded by an individual who was not dependent on donations inspired by the gun laws the NRA proposes to defeat.

    The NRA declined to participate in the Heller case.

    I can’t help but think that the NRA selectively puts forth feeble efforts because of this conflict.

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      Which is why you should donate to the SAF instead.

    • avatarMike in CA says:

      The NRA is a very powerful lobbying group that has a lot of influence. They also provide a lot of training and firearms safety education. It is very important to support them for those reasons. They are not the best at litigation and they have unfortunately backed bad cases and interfered with important cases. I wish they would leave that area of the fight alone, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support them. The NRA can and will help limit what legislation is passed.

      The SAF and their local affiliates through Firearms Policy Coalition are very good at the litigation. They got us Heller and McDonald and are involved in the important litigation around carry rights. It is important to support them so that they can afford to fight these legal battles to overturn the unconstitutional laws that have been passed. They are a limited group and the legal system is slow, Carry will probably be heard this year or next at the Supreme Court level but it will take time to get a good AWB or magazine limit case up through the courts. They have very little involvement in lobbying and no where near the influence of the NRA.

      I donate to the NRA, SAF, and my local CalGuns Foundation. You all should be doing the same.

  14. avatarBrian S says:

    “Bodine wastes no time both gloating and putting the boot to the NRA”

    this sums up what’s really going on with the gun control “debate” at large… it’s liberals attacking conservatives (even tho they are hurting themselves), prob punishment for being in the passenger seat during the W. Bush years. They don’t care because they aren’t affected (currently). They won’t listen to reason on what affect the laws will have, or look at historical statistics and facts. There’s blood in the water and the legislation feeding frenzy is in full affect.

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      All part of the culture wars.

      “LET’S PUNISH THOSE REDNECKS WHO OWN THINGS WE DON’T LIKE, THEN COMPLAIN WHEN THE LAW IS ENFORCED PRIMARILY AGAINST POOR MINORITIES!”

      • avatarLongBeach says:

        They don’t care about the poor minorities. The point has been made several times that it took an event like Sandy Hook to make people sit up and take notice, the huge number of minority youths killed every day by guns (or anything else, for that matter) is largely ignored by the same people who supposedly speak out about minorities and the poor. These liberals only dance on the graves of white children. It disgusts me.

  15. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    We need a broad, sweeping kind of case. One that recognizes that the god-awful mish-mash of laws in this country creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust, serving as a huge impediment to the lawful ownership and use of guns. Basically the courts should recognize that under this system almost no one can exercise their right to keep and bear arms without at some point inadvertently becoming a criminal merely by stepping over an imaginary line drawn on a map. This system of laws has by its very nature become an “infringement”.

  16. avatarElliotte says:

    For those that are curious, the judges were:
    MCKEE, Chief Judge – Clinton (became CJ in 2010)
    SLOVITER – Carter (was CJ from 91-98)
    VANASKIE – Obama

    Also, there are 13 active judges on the 3rd Circuit, 1 Reagan appointee, 5 GWB appointees, 3 more Clinton ones, and 1 more Obama appointee. Of the 10 senior judges 1 is a Johnson appointee, 2 Nixon ones, 4 Reagan, 1 GHWB, 1 Clinton, and 1 GWB appointee.

    Of course, I don’t know how the case was presented, so I have no clue if it political leanings made the difference here.

  17. avatarThomas Paine says:

    One a month?
    One a year?
    One at a time?
    One a lifetime?
    One for the whole family?
    One for the neighborhood?
    One for the country? See you’re not infringed. We still have ONE.

  18. avatarjkp says:

    Not the “Third U.S. District Court” — it’s the 3rd Circuit.

  19. avatarNew Chris says:

    Number of crimes prevented by 1 gun a month laws?

    Is this something we concern ourselves with anymore, or is all just political Kabuki.

  20. avatarEagleScout87 says:

    Just so everyone is clear, the One-Gun a month law is for handguns only, shotguns and long guns are unlimited (for now). It’s still disheartening to see this law upheld, but like most have said, it’s low on the list of “repeal nows”. Mag cap, “assault weapon ban” and shall issue are the big ones.

  21. avatarAaronvan says:

    God I hate this state. Do I get three permits for the 3 months it took for Trenton to do my change of address on my nics card?

  22. avatarBill says:

    What the far left radicals do seem to understand and ridicule us for pointing out, is these laws will come and bite them sooner or later. By establishing the precedent that government can tell you when and how much of a particular item you are allowed to buy, the door is now open for them to tell all the radicals the exact same thing. You can buy one hamburger per month, one car, one cola, one of just about anything our masters decide.

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      You can buy one hamburger per month, one car, one cola, one of just about anything our masters decide.

      They’re already proposing bans on some of those things so I don’t think these limits would bother them. Or they might, in that they don’t go far enough.

      • avatarBill says:

        Agreed, they won’t mind until it is something that impacts them directly. Then you will hear them howl to high heavens and throw hissy fits to the extent a teenager would be embarrassed.

    • avataranonymous says:

      …one abortion per lifetime.

      Imagine the hysteria that would eminate from the Leftists if that idea ever gained serioius traction.

      • avatarBill in IL says:

        I do LIKE that one Anon! Even the suggestion would twist their shorts so tight they wouldn’t be able to breath.

  23. avatarInBox485 says:

    To everybody whining, moaning and b!tching about the constitution not being followed here, please point me to the constitutional argument that was not interpreted correctly. Apparently most here couldn’t even bother to read so much as the case summary before crying treason. You have been betrayed all right, but the traitor has been the NRA. They spiked this case on purpose arguing only the most frivolous points while ignoring the glaringly obvious. But don’t worry, I’m sure in light of this “defeat”, the NRA will rake in loads of donations to fight back the paper tiger they claim to be fighting. Just another crock of scat served up by the fat white old men of the NRA and its affiliates.

    • avatarBrian S says:

      To me it’s just more useless legislation, the perpetuation of this fantasy that laws will make you safe. And in this case there isn’t even any precedent for limiting purchases. It’s just an experiment to see what (and how much) gun control legislation can be passed.

      In the bigger picture, this particular issue is small potatoes

      • avatarBrian S says:

        …but then again maybe it isn’t. Gun control advocates seem to be taking the “spray & pray” approach, without much care of what the actual affect of any of these laws will be (good or bad)

      • avatarInBox485 says:

        To me it is the legislative equivalent of saying sure you have a 1st amendment right to freedom of speech. You just can’t buy more than one device capable of conveying thoughts, words, images, or ideas per month. And to enforce said restriction, you have to register all device acquisitions so we know if you acquired more than one within a month.

        But that isn’t what the NRA argued. They put on a PR pony show.

    • avatarJosh says:

      And another reason to become a member of Gun Owners of America (GOA), run by Larry Pratt, who is much better spoken and educated than Wayne LaPierre.

      Join here (only $20): http://gunowners.co/new-annual-membership

  24. avatarampd says:

    I have been in NJ all my life and it was not until I became a hunter/gun owner did I feel the undeniable need to get the hell out of this place… I really need to find a job in Wyoming or something

  25. avatarJAS says:

    There is a “Supremacy clause” that applies in favor of the federal government. However, it only applies as long as the federal government law is in strict compliance within the Constitution. Also, the states can preempt a federal law if they pass a contrary law before the federal law is passed. This applies only to the state itself because the federal government has control over interstate commerce.

    For an example look here:
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.290

  26. avatardarksied says:

    I am so glad i moved out of New Jersey

    • avatarMy Name Is Bob says:

      I hear that! NJ is no friend of the 2A.

      I don’t understand how this is NOT an infringement on the 2A. I get that most ppl don’t buy more than 1 gun a month, but if someone wants to for any legit reason, I see no reason they should be denied.

      • avatarInBox485 says:

        It probably is an infringement, and had the NRA argued this, the court may have even considered that. But the NRA didn’t argue this. They propped up a frivolous case for PR reasons knowing that loosing would be more lucrative than winning.

  27. avatarJosh says:

    To quibble respectfully, Robert: the title of this article should be “Third Circuit Court…” rather than “Third District Court…”

    Thanks for the information. This is an important case – one of many on their way to the Supreme Court.

  28. avatarConrad says:

    I’m gonna bite… I assume it’s because the evidence suggests that only very small number of people are responsible for the vast majority of straw purchases… and so since they’re unable to detect and prosecute the straw purchasers (despite it technically being “illegal”) they’re going to instead indirectly do an end-around by mandating a periodic purchase limit and then enforcing it via record keeping…

    (don’t really know how I ended reading this now…)

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