Will You Ever Be Able To Legally Carry A Gun In New Jersey?

New Jersey has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, and it’s not surprising that even Second Amendment supporters can feel pretty glum about the prospects of that ever changing. Take Judi Franco, for instance. The longtime midday host at New Jersey’s 101.5 says that even with a new lawsuit challenging the state’s carry laws, residents should accept that they’ll probably never be able to legally carry a gun in the Garden State.

The NRA is suing the state of New Jersey To change the laws to make it easier for people to obtain concealed carry permits. The way the law is now, New Jersey residents must show what’s called “justifiable need“ in order to be able to carry concealed weapons in the state. And to meet that standard is nearly impossible.

So if Americans have the right to defend themselves with firearms, a right Constitutionally afforded to all of us, and situations come up quickly and without warning, what’s the good of having a gun that you can only keep in your bedside drawer, barely allowed to use and certainly not allowed to take out with you?

This lawsuit will not change anything. But for the ever-decreasing pool of freedom-loving Americans in New Jersey, it’s good to know that someone is not just lying down and watching our rights taken away without a fight.

Franco is spot-on when she talks about the near impossibility of individual gun owners meeting the “justifiable need” standard in order to get a carry license in the state. The average New Jersey resident will always be denied their right to carry unless they can document some sort of specific and ongoing threat against their life, which is the entire point of the new litigation filed by the NRA, Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, and the Coalition of New Jersey Gun Owners.

I disagree with Franco, however, when she claims that the new lawsuit “will not change anything.” I think there’s a very good chance that by the time this case gets to the Supreme Court for potential review, SCOTUS will have already weighed in on at least one right-to-carry case, and will have sided with the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms.

There’s already a split in the various appellate courts over the issue of “justifiable need” and whether it’s a violation of the Second Amendment. The Third and Ninth Circuits have rule that the heightened standard passes constitutional muster, while the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit disagrees.

That split in the appellate courts makes it far more likely that SCOTUS will accept a carry case dealing with the “justifiable need” requirement, especially with Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the bench. The new lawsuit filed over New Jersey’s carry laws might not be the first such case to reach the Supreme Court (there’s an challenge to Hawaii’s open carry laws that is currently in the Ninth Circuit that’s likely to be the next carry case to get to the high Court), but I feel pretty confident about the Court taking on the right to bear arms in the new year.

So, unlike Franco, I’m pretty bullish on New Jersey residents getting their right to carry in the not-too-distant future. I know how frustrated gun owners are after decades of having their Second Amendment rights treated as a privilege, but I believe that better days are ahead for gun rights in the Garden State.