Attorney breaks down NJ's latest assault on 2A rights

Attorney Daniel Schmutter has worked extensively with the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs in challenging the state’s gun control laws, and I’m really glad that he could join me on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co to talk about the target-rich legal environment for Second Amendment litigation, as well as an update on a magazine ban lawsuit that’s already drawn the interest of the Supreme Court.

The litigation taking on the state’s ban on “large capacity” magazines was one of four cases that SCOTUS accepted in the wake of the Bruen decision, with the High Court vacating lower court decisions and sending the cases back to appellate courts for reconsideration in light of the Bruen opinion. Most of those appellate courts have proceeded to send the cases back to trial court for a complete re-do, which is where the magazine ban case finds itself.

Schmutter says the case is now at the point where the trial judge has to decide how to proceed; scheduling deadlines for briefs to be submitted, oral arguments, and so forth. That will take some time, but Schmutter feels confident about the likelihood of success, especially in light of the Bruen decision.

“What was nice about the Bruen decision is that it gave a pretty good amount of detail about how courts are supposed to look at this,” Schmutter explains, adding that one of his favorite things about the opinion is that “it was really designed to give a good roadmap as to how courts are supposed to look at this stuff and how they’re supposed to deal with this stuff, because I think the Court really didn’t want to see another twelve years of abusive lower court decisions.”

That guidance should benefit gun owners, Schmutter believes, because many of New Jersey’s existing laws (and those they’re trying to put in place) simply have no historical analogues to point to in their defense.

As for the state’s response to the Bruen decision invalidating the “may issue” concealed carry statutes that had blocked the vast majority of New Jersey residents from exercising their right to bear arms in self-defense, Schmutter says it’s clear that the majority of lawmakers have no interest in crafting a bill with the rights of residents in mind. Instead, he says the goal of the bill that’s slowly making its way through the state legislature is to “infringe on the right to bear arms as much as they possibly can.”

“The core of the proposed legislation is to prevent people from carrying handguns. It’s to undermine the Bruen decision,” Schmutter tells Bearing Arms, adding that the legislation’s tweaks to date have been largely at the margins, and have not substantially removed the infringements on the right to bear arms that are an inherent part of the bill.

Schmutter says that ultimately the bill, in whatever form it takes before it’s signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy, will have to be litigated, especially since Murphy and his anti-gun cohorts in the legislature are making no secret of their intent to undermine the Bruen decision and resist recognizing the inherent and fundamental right to armed self-defense of residents; a decision that both Schmutter and I believe is comparable to the bad old days of “massive resistance” in several southern states following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education that struck down segregation in public schools.

Check out the entire conversation with Daniel Schmutter in the video window below, and I look forward to having him back on Cam & Co in the near future to delve deeper into the current and future court cases he’s involved with that will have a major impact on our ability to exercise our right to keep and bear arms without retribution or criminal sanction from the State.