New Jerseys Governor Phil Murphy lashed out in response to a ten day old filing by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, in the challenge to the state’s “carry-killer” Bruen response law. The 2022 law signed by Murphy eviscerated the ability of Jerseyites to exercise the Second Amendment and currently is sitting on the chopping block of a legal challenge.
One of the most egregious provisions of the law created new so-called “sensitive places” where carrying firearms is prohibited. New Jersey went well beyond the scope of what the high court laid out in its NYSRPA v. Bruen ruling and seems destined for the dustbin of history.
In his tirade, Murphy fingered the nefarious “gun lobby,” pontificating that what they really want more guns on playgrounds and claiming that the filing date of the plaintiffs’ brief falling when school is in session is somehow relevant.
At a time when parents across New Jersey are sending their kids back to school, I am furious that the gun lobby is trying to dismantle our state’s strong gun safety laws by advocating for more guns in playgrounds and youth sports games. These extreme right-wing organizations will not relent until guns are allowed everywhere, especially places with children.
Mad Murphy played the kids card and then proceeded to cast law-abiding citizens of New Jersey as shameful lobbyists. Those terrible people Hizzoner is is referring to is the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, a member organization made up of New Jersey gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. ANJRPC is far from the gun lobby boogeyman that Murphy tries to claim.
Painting the state’s gun-grabbers as heroic saviors, Murphy pronounced, “While greed and fanaticism continue to fuel the gun lobby, public safety will always guide our decisions.”
OK then. If Murphy wants to accuse ANJRPC and their members of being “greedy” for wanting to defend their civil liberties, then so be it.
I am proud that the vast majority of our law restricting concealed carry of firearms in sensitive locations has been upheld by the Third Circuit and am grateful to everyone who worked on that law, including Senate President Scutari and Speaker Coughlin, for helping to keep our residents safe. We will remain steadfast in defending our nation-leading gun safety laws and maintaining our position as a national leader in protecting families from gun violence.
There’s more than a little false bravado beneath the pseudo-tough guy proclamations. While the state managed to get the Third Circuit to stay the injunction blocking the law, the Third Circuit has a big hurdle to get over considering the opinion written by Federal District Court Judge Bumb. All they did was make a knee-jerk, likely political move.
The large swaths of “sensitive locations” that Murphy wants to keep carry-free zones don’t include the coveted car carry prohibitions the legislature ramrodded down the throats of gun owners, nor does it include the need for permission from owners prior to going on private property that’s open to the public.
Murphy can click his heels over the current enforcement of a ban preventing arms at all parks, forests, etc., under the control of towns, counties, or the state, as well as beaches and a laundry list of other specific places. We still have very effective carry in the state of New Jersey, as much as he doesn’t want to admit it. And Murphy’s provision extorting permit holders in the form of a forced purchase of a non-existent insurance policy is also off the table, at least for now. And Murphy’s prospects at trial aren’t good.
What does NYSRPA v. Bruen say about those sensitive locations? During arguments for the preliminary injunction in District Court, attorney Daniel Schmutter pointed out that . . .
When you read Bruen carefully and you read the “sensitive place” section carefully, and I think we talked about this at the TRO stage, there is a difference between Bruen’s discussion of the Heller dicta, schools and government buildings, and the following sentence in which they actually identify actual historical sensitive places: legislatures, courthouses, and polling places. …
As we stand here, there’s still nothing in the record to support anything other than legislatures, courthouses, and polling places.
The Bruen opinion given us the following, which is a dagger aimed at the heart of what Murphy says he’s so proud of . . .
Respondents’ attempt to characterize New York’s proper-cause requirement as a “sensitive-place” law lacks merit because there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a “sensitive place” simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department.
While he’d never show it publicly, Governor Phil Murphy is in panic mode. He knows this law is on the endangered species list. That has as much with the fact that Paul Clement’s name is on the briefs as it does with ANJRPC’s complaint or its timing.
Murphy and his gun-grabbing accomplices in the legislature are about to get spanked by the same attorney who took down may-issue permitting in the Supreme Court. Clement is ready to go another ten rounds and smash these vindictive, clearly unconstitutional Bruen response laws. That’s why the best Murphy can apparently muster is bluster and has been reduced to demonizing the plaintiffs and their motives.
Oral arguments concerning the stay and requests for a preliminary injunction at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals are scheduled for October 25 in Philadelphia. Given the expeditious nature in which this case has been moving through the system, we may have a decision by year’s end. Stay tuned.