December 26, 2022
New Jersey lawmakers have given a big middle finger to the U.S. Supreme Court, passing new concealed carry legislation with many restrictions that run afoul of the ruling in last summer’s New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case. The New Jersey Senate passed A4769 by a 21-16 vote on Wednesday, sending the arguably unconstitutional legislation to anti-gun Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature.
While the Bruen decision recognized the right of Americans to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense, the New Jersey legislation does several things to make doing that even more expensive and inconvenient. Along with drastically increasing the cost of getting an already-hard-to-acquire New Jersey carry permit, the measure also greatly expands the number of locations considered “sensitive places” where concealed carry is banned, including arenas, parks, beaches, restaurants and theaters.
Other changes in the new law would expand training requirements for a permit, enable the government to use social media and online posts as grounds to deny a permit, ban carry at public gatherings, ban carry in one’s own vehicle, ban carry on all private property unless the owner specifically posts a sign saying it is permitted and give the government the power to deny carry permits using hard-to-defines standards like “temperament” and “character.”
Other provisions in the law require gun owners to acquire special insurance without knowing if such policies are even legal or available, along with creating a special class of public officials who do not need a carry permit and who are allowed to carry firearms in places “normal” citizens cannot. During debate in the New Jersey Assembly last month, Republican Assemblyman Gerard Scharfenberger argued that the measure, like most gun control legislation, failed to address the problem of violent criminals using firearms while further inconveniencing law-abiding citizens.
“Creating more [restrictions] will only add insult to injury to the millions of law-abiding citizens who either own firearms or intend on purchasing them in the future,” Scharfenberger said. “They already have to deal with a labyrinth of regulations, piling more on top of them only hurts the honest New Jerseyans. Most importantly, they are a direct attack on our constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights. With close to 28,000 gun laws already on the books across the country, we should be concentrating on the root causes and prevention of violent attacks that is punishing criminals who use illegal firearms, addressing mental health issues, securing schools and other vulnerable targets and aggressively following up on known threats.”
Just a cursory read of the legislation raises many questions concerning its constitutionality, and there’s little doubt that pro-gun groups are already preparing litigation to battle the law. In fact, the National Rifle Association announced on Thursday a lawsuit challenging the measure. In the meantime, New Jersey residents will continue to see their rights trampled by lawmakers who carry little about the law.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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