Over a Million New Jersey Gun Owners Sue AG Platkin Over Gun Control

Coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out New York’s gun control law, as being unconstitutional, the United States Supreme Court vacated a decision, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit which upheld his strict 2018 gun control law.

As previously reported, the law, prohibiting gun magazines to a limit of 10 rounds (from the previous allowed 15) was challenged on appeal by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs is now back in the appellate court for reconsideration.

Today, over a million New Jersey gun owners represented by The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs Inc., have filed suit against New Jersey law enforcement officials in federal court to overturn the state’s ban on semiautomatic firearms and assault weapons.

The association argued that recent Supreme Court rulings have made such firearms constitutionally protected, and New Jersey should allow them for self-defense, hunting, and sport.

As reported on TLS last week, the association challenged New Jersey’s ban on large-capacity firearm magazines and as a result, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered lower courts to reconsider that ban, too, in light of their ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

Scott Bach, who heads the association, hopes New Jersey’s 32-year-old ban will fail as well, like it’s “justifiable need” requirement did after the U.S. Supreme Court relied on the Second Amendment to overturn a concealed carry regulation in New York last month. “We’ve been waiting decades for this moment,” Bach said.

“Criminals don’t follow hardware bans. The magazine ban, like New Jersey’s infamous so-called assault firearms ban, accomplish very little in terms of preventing crime or punishing crime all they do is regulate law-abiding citizens, so they’re essentially useless, feel-good laws that make headlines for politicians, but in fact do very little to make anybody safer.”

The association’s complaint names Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan, and the police chiefs in Chester and Wall Township, where plaintiffs and association members Blake Ellman and Thomas Rogers live, as defendants.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the complaint but in an op-ed published last week, Platkin wrote: “The opinion in Bruen will encourage individuals to challenge other laws, ranging from our limits on who can buy guns, to our limits on the most dangerous kinds of guns New Jersey residents can buy. I will stand up for these critical safety measures, which find support in a long tradition of public safety measures in this country, and which continue to protect us in this era of gun violence and mass shootings.”

An associate professor of justice studies, John Williams, at Montclair State University predicts that more lawsuits will follow, setting the stage for New Jersey. New Jersey has the second toughest gun laws nationally.

The Gifford Law Center, for New Jersey expects the state to become a major battleground over Second Amendment rights.

“The game is pretty much up, as long as we have this current court ruling,” Williams said of gun control efforts. “I hate to sound so pessimistic. But under the current situation, we’re going to need federal intervention from Congress and/or a better Supreme Court.”

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