Home>Governor>N.J. can’t enforce parts of new concealed carry law, federal judge says 

Gov. Phil Murphy signs gun safety bills in Metuchen on July 5, 2022. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

N.J. can’t enforce parts of new concealed carry law, federal judge says 

U.S. District Court ruling temporarily blocks some ‘sensitive location’ provisions

By Joey Fox, January 09 2023 3:39 pm

A federal judge has temporarily blocked New Jersey from enforcing certain provisions of a sweeping concealed-carry law, less than a month after the law was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in the first place.

United States District Court Judge Renée Marie Bumb, in an opinion released earlier today, found that portions of the law restricting firearms in certain locations – specifically public libraries and museums, bars and restaurants, entertainment facilities, private property, and vehicles – represent “irreparable harm” to gun-owning New Jerseyans.

“The deprivation of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, as the holders of valid permits from the State to conceal carry handguns, constitutes irreparable injury, and neither the State nor the public has an interest in enforcing unconstitutional laws,” Bumb wrote. “Accordingly, good cause exists, and the Court will grant the motion for temporary restraints.”

The law was originally written in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June striking down “justifiable need” requirements for concealed carry permits, which invalidated a major component of New Jersey’s gun restrictions.

Other parts of the law, including liability insurance requirements, training mandates, and restrictions on other sensitive places like government buildings and schools, remain in effect for now. But as litigation continues, Bumb’s opinion is a preview of future legal battles over the law.

“As Plaintiffs lament, the challenged provisions force a person permitted to carry a firearm in New Jersey to ‘navigate a veritable minefield,’” wrote Bumb, an appointee of former President George W. Bush. “Their view is a legitimate one. The Court knows of no constitutional right that requires this much guesswork by individuals wanting to exercise such right.”

As reported by Politico, Attorney General Matt Platkin – a consistent proponent of gun control legislation – responded to the ruling by noting that there’s a lot more litigation left to go beyond this initial temporary setback.

“We are disappointed by the Court’s ruling, which is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and will make New Jerseyans considerably less safe,” Platkin said in a statement. “But this temporary order is just that: temporary. And we look forward to continuing to press our case, including ultimately on appeal.”

But Republicans, who voted against the bill en masse when it moved through the legislature, said Bumb’s opinion confirmed what they already knew: that the bill has no chance of passing constitutional muster.

“Despite all of our warnings, Governor Murphy and Trenton Democrats plowed ahead and enacted an obviously flawed proposal,” State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) said in a statement. “Yet again, the legislature will have to revisit one of their bad laws to fix the mess they created… To my Democrat colleagues, I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so.”

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