As you might imagine, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Gerwal isn’t a fan of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement that’s now taken hold in the state. He’s in charge of ensuring that all of the state’s draconian gun control laws are being enforced, and to that end he’s now sent a letter to all of the prosecutors in the state warning them of the supposed dangers Grewal claims are inherent in the pro-2A resolutions.
“My primary concern is not that law enforcement officers in New Jersey will stop enforcing firearm safety laws,” Grewal, who was appointed, said in a letter to all 21 county prosecutors provided to NJ Advance Media.
“My real concern is that these so-called ‘sanctuary’ resolutions will confuse otherwise law-abiding residents, who may incorrectly believe that they no longer have to comply with firearm safety laws, including carry laws and prohibitions on assault weapons, ghost guns, or large-capacity magazines,” he added.
“This confusion can create serious risks for law enforcement and the public at large, with potentially deadly consequences. As we work to end gun violence across New Jersey, it is especially important that we make clear that our state’s firearm laws remain fully in effect,” Grewal continued.
Despite the growing number of towns and counties that have passed resolutions, there’s no evidence that any of them are choosing to ignore existing state law. As Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs told NJ Advance Media, Grewal is simply objecting to towns “vocalizing their support for the Second Amendment.”
The resolutions passed by various local governments in the state aren’t uniform. Some of them specifically reference the state’s new red flag firearms seizure law, while others are more vague in their vocal opposition to unconstitutional gun control laws.
When the Sussex County freeholder board voted 5-0 to declare Sussex a “Second Amendment / lawful gun owner county,” following 80 minutes of discussion, supporters in the audience gave elected officials a rare standing ovation.
However, unlike pro-gun resolutions adopted elsewhere in New Jersey, the text of the board’s resolution did not condemn “red flags laws” allowing a judge to order the removal of weapons from someone judged a threat to themselves or others.
New Jersey’s red flag law took effect in September, with nearly 200 guns seized as of Jan. 22, and has been a rallying cry for gun control opponents.
NJ Advance Media’s Rob Jennings recently wrote that, despite the symbolic nature of the resolutions, “the large crowds at public meetings and lengthy debates can make it look like something big is happening.”
I would argue that something big is indeed happening in New Jersey; gun owners are starting to find their voice and are recognizing that while lawmakers in Trenton may ignore them, their local officials are more inclined to listen. What we’re witnessing in places like New Jersey, upstate New York, and Illinois (where the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement began back in 2018) is the beginning of a movement, not the culmination of one.
Just as Attorney General Grewal is wrong to claim that these resolutions are going to lead to lawlessness, Jennings is off base in assuming the large crowds and citizen activism driving the movement will amount to nothing at all. It’s possible, of course, that the movement fizzles out before it’s able to effect any real change. It’s also possible that the movement will continue to grow and expand, and the networking and grassroots activism at the local level can lead to new opportunities to change and expand the debate around the state’s restrictive gun laws. It’s far too early to write off the movement, especially with anti-gun politicians like New Jersey’s attorney general criticizing the movement and its members. That only adds fuel to the fire in the hearts and minds of Garden State gun owners.