By Theresa Inacker
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently used his personal dislike for the Second Amendment as justification for closing New Jersey gun shops during a national emergency. Governor Murphy unilaterally decided that gun shops and NICS background checks are not essential, but liquor stores and garden centers are.
When asked at a COVID-19 press briefing about the closure of gun shops and his shut-down the NICS process, Murphy stated that a “safer society for [his] taste has fewer guns not more guns.”
New Jersey is one of a dozen or so “point of contact” states which administer NICS. NICS in New Jersey is not a direct inquiry to the FBI database.
Governor Murphy’s statement proves that the shutdown is motivated by his personal views, not by COVID-19 considerations. The pandemic is merely a pretext for implementing Governor Murphy’s hoplophobic views.
“Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.” – James Madison
The right to keep and bear arms has been recognized as an individual right. One thing that petty tyrants do not understand is that individual rights are not subject to their personal opinions.
Our right to keep and bear arms, is not subjugated to the whims or fancies of a Governor or anyone else who is in a position to abuse his power. This is where the structure of a constitutional republic versus a democracy is clearly manifest. This is what people like Governor Murphy fail to understand. This is what needs to be enforced by our judiciary.
It is incumbent on the judiciary, including the Supreme Court of the United States, to establish a bright, indisputable line that Second Amendment rights are fundamental, and that any government attempts to restrict those rights, are subject to strictest scrutiny.
Because the Court has failed to take innumerable Second Amendment challenges from deeply infringing states like New Jersey, these liberal anti-gun governors are merely emboldened by the Judiciary’s silence. From that silence comes bad behavior by those prone to abusing power. Authoritarians like Murphy will use any opportunity to attack the right to keep and bear arms under the pretext of public safety.
Multiple challenges to Murphy’s illegal and unconstitutional actions have already been filed.
ANJRPC (Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs), New Jersey’s state affiliate of the NRA has filed a lawsuit in federal court. The SAF (Second Amendment Foundation) and Firearms Policy Coalition, in unison with the New Jersey Second Amendment Society and others have also filed suit in federal court.
Abuses of power such as Governor Murphy’s cannot be allowed to stand.
Theresa Inacker, an attorney and Second Amendment advocate, is a member of the US Supreme Court bar, the New Jersey Delegate to The DC Project, and serves as the Communications Director for the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners.