Franklin Armory v. New Jersey
Franklin Armory
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New Jersey is one of those states in the union where gun rights go to die. The Garden State never misses an opportunity to throw up a roadblock to the right to keep and bear arms. So, of course, an “assault weapons” ban is a part of the state’s ever-expanding labyrinth of laws restricting the kind of firearms New Jerseyites can buy and own.

You may have heard about Franklin Armory’s unique Reformation line of firearms. Legally speaking, they’re neither rifles or shotguns. As Jeremy described the design of the Reformation . . .

…the barrel has lands and grooves but they’re totally straight, and since there’s no spin imparted on the projectile it isn’t considered “rifling” (and therefore doesn’t meet the definition of a rifle), but also isn’t a smoothbore (so doesn’t meet the definition of a shotgun)…

Franklin, being the enterprising gun business they are, took a look at New Jersey’s statutes and determined that the state’s laws don’t prohibit sales of the Reformation. But as Franklin’s marketing manager Sun Naegele tells TTAG, that didn’t sway either the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Law and Public Safety or the Attorney General’s office. They refused to allow the Reformation to be be sold there.

Franklin Armory v. New Jersey
Franklin Armory

It seems that the letter of the law means only what the state’s gun-grabbing politicians want it to mean. If a firearm looks too assaulty, that’s enough to ban it in Bayonne. To which Franklin Armory has said, we’ll just see about that.

Franklin has filed suit against the state in US District Court over its refusal to allow sales of Reformation guns. You can read the complaint, Franklin Armory v. New Jersey, here. Franklin has issued the following press release . . .

Minden, NV, October 24, 2019 – Franklin Armory® is filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the State of New Jersey challenging the unconstitutional actions of the New Jersey State Police. The complaint challenges the agencies unlawful prohibition of the Franklin Armory® Reformation® series firearms.

Jay Jacobson President said, “fundamentally, the State of New Jersey has infringed upon our
Constitutional rights. We will never stand by when an agency of any jurisdiction unlawfully
restricts our rights or those of our customers.”

This lawsuit alleges official misconduct, negligence, recklessness and/or purposefully, intentional or callously indifferent conduct of Defendants State of New Jersey, New Jersey State Police, Patrick A. Callahan (in his capacity as Superintendent of the State of New Jersey Police), Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, Gurbir Grewal (in his official capacity as Attorney General), and the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety (“Defendants”). Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Defendants have violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights and caused irreparable damage to Plaintiff by improperly, and without legal justification, preventing, precluding, and delaying the lawful sale of lawful firearms within the State of New Jersey.


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  1. Should of painted it a pastel color or even pink, it’s still a ” scary ” black rifle – shoots atom bombs and stuff !

  2. What about the 11th Amendment? As I recall, the states are not subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts, and that applies to state agencies and employees as well, which would include the AG and the State Police. (No doubt Franklin cannot get a fair trial ina state court, but when has that ever mattered?)

    • Read the linked complaint. Franklin argues that . . .

      2. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because
      the matter in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the parties are citizens of different States.
      3. This action also arises under the Second, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the
      United States Constitution as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Accordingly, this Court has subject matter jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1434, 1367, 2201, and 2202.

      • States are immune from suit for claims arising under the Civil Rights Act under the 11th Amendment, which is what those code sections refer to.

        • Loosely translated, mean that the Second Amendment has Limitations attached to it. If the “Right to Bear Arms” is a in it’s interpretation where everyone seems to believe is a Universal Constant in meaning. Then NO State can refuse to sell the product in question…

  3. Eff N J and the communists that reside with in government,hope they loose and take it in their shorts,till their eyes pop out of their empty heads.

  4. The problem with his story is that there is already a letter available online from Franklin Armory lawyers that details the results of the ATF ruling on this particular firearm. It states are the designs presented are considered shotguns. However, since the National Firearms Act says a shotgun it’s a firearm that uses a fixed shotgun shell, it is not considered a shotgun under the act and therefore can have a barrel shorter than 18 in.

  5. I thought the Binary function was banned along with bumpstocks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s not at the moment but is the binary function on a legal Cliffhanger? I imagine it’s only quick legal interpretation away from being a federal offense.

    • Theres no action against them yet. But as soon as they decide to redefine “function” of the trigger…

      • {Binary triggers}

        “Theres no action against them yet.”

        At the state level, there is. Florida banned them a number of months back…

    • It will be sweet if they can carry it all the way to SCOTUS…

      • My thought exactly. I’m hoping that this isn’t just a PR stunt and that Franklin is willing to see this thing through.

    • The NJ government should be known as B.R.O.T.H.–Beast Renegades Of The Hellscape.

      …too many Cooks…

  6. New Yorks lawyers have a knot in their knickers because The Supremes insist on ruling on NY’s laws even after they were changed. Sounds like they want to have at the issue of governments ignoring The Constitution until they get caught. Hey NJ, you listening?

  7. I thought they already addressed that language, they have pistols, & long guns, & now a new designation called a Other,,, I know that because I have a SKO Shorty, it’s designation is a Other because it has its own set of rules & regulation’s on what you can & cannot do TO IT…anyway, who cares, keep your powder dry & stock up on ammo…

  8. I have long been a fan of the Smokey Yunick interpretation of the rules.

    That means I REALLY like these guys.

      • Wasn’t he the one who cooked up the idea of using a 4-inch ‘fuel line’ to skirt fuel tank capacity limits?

        • He had a sorts of neat ideas like that. Car racing just isn’t interesting anymore without cheaters like him.

  9. I really love how Franklin Armory does business. Design, create and market an object totally within the letter of the law, and when any moronic government official or office prohibits the sale of it based on some arbitrary, ignorant notion, they then go in for the kill.

    That’s one way to keep the first freedom alive, by taking the legal sting to the oppressors. Kudos Franklin. Keep up the good fight guys.

  10. Franklin armory doesn’t understand New Jersey. All they are doing with the court case is punishing gun owners in that state, they will never ‘win’. Sure they have a case because there is no law NOW, but New jersey will be quick to place one on the books so that AOWs like this are Illegal. All they are doing is drawing attention to an area in the law the that has slipped by the stupid politicians. No more though now that it is front and center.

    Currently NJ residents can own shockwaves and the other short AOWs, not a shotgun and also ARs that are actually SBRs but due to a reclassification in ATF if they have a foregrip and are under a certain length are now AOWs. This is due to law in that state CURRENTLY having no mention of Any Other Weapon or AOW in the firearm regs.

    All this court case will accomplish is 1. no monetary benefit for franklin armory, except free publicity, but maybe that is the point and 2. showing the dumb pols what they missed so the people of the state have additional laws put on the books to restrict their 2nd amendment rights.

    I’m sure that most of you at this point see that franklin armory is having a hissy fit since these other ‘AOW’s are allowed for sale in that state but theirs was not approved. Rather than taking their loss of a single state to sell these keyholing worthless 2k plus worthless pieces of metal they are going to SCREW the residents of the state by informing the uninformed pols about what was mentioned above.

    GREED is one of the seven deadly sins.

    • Greedy,
      Surrender, or hiding in the closet and hoping no one finds you may work in the short run, but long term it means the end of ALL of our rights. And you can’t file a suit unless you have “standing”. They are spending big money to fight for the idea that THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO OBEY ITS OWN LAWS!! It’s not about their POS design, it’s about the principle. The government’s get to write the laws, endlessly re-write them, BUT THEY DON’T GET TO IGNORE THEM! Or else we live in a dictatorship. Fight now while we’re strong, or fight later when we are weaker and mostly beaten. Easy choice.

      • So you propose the citizens of NJ should lose more rights to gain….nothing?

        Lets kindergarten this for you….

        No law currently on books for AOWs.

        Court case shines light on this.

        While court case is slowly working its way through court system the regs are changed to no longer allow AOWs.

        Franklin loses court case and citizens lose more rights.


      • That’s right. Until we stop cower and hope that if we are very quiet, maybe the gun grabbers will not notice the crumbs of our RTKBA they overlooked so far, there is no hope to get any of the lost ground back.

        I don’t care what your religion of choice says about sin, I would argue that greed, the burning desire to have more than one has now, is a good thing. It’s what raised humans from primitivism, what turns the wheels of industry and business. It’s a powerful motivator for inventors and investors. Very few enterprises started as humanitarian projects, most are a way to make money. Socialists and communists hate greed. Capitalism needs it.

        • So greed that feeds your sloth and takes away from other peoples god given rights is kosher in your eyes.

          Got it. You’re a real cherry.

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