Federal judge halts enforcement of another NJ gun control law

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The federal courts have already started to make mincemeat out of New Jersey’s latest attempt to nullify the right to bear arms, and now a state law aimed at fueling junk lawsuits against the firearms industry has been halted by a U.S. District judge.


In his decision granting an injunction, U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi (who, incidentally was appointed to the bench by none other than Joe Biden back in 2021) found that the National Shooting Sports Foundation and other plaintiffs are likely to prevail in their arguments when the case goes to trial, ruling that the New Jersey statute allowing the Attorney General to sue gun makers and sellers for creating a public nuisance runs afoul of the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The preliminary order by U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi in Trenton, New Jersey, means the law cannot be enforced while the judge considers a legal challenge by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a gun industry group. It comes a day after a different judge struck down parts of a separate gun control measure in the state.

“NSSF wholeheartedly welcomes this decision,” said Mark Oliva, a spokesperson for the group.

A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the governor was disappointed and confident the order would be reversed on appeal.

The now-blocked law, passed last June in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights, allows the state attorney general to bring lawsuits accusing gun manufactures and sellers of creating a “public nuisance” that endangers health and safety – for example, through dangerous marketing or failing to prevent illegal trafficking.

Quraishi found that it was in “direct conflict” with the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA), which shields gun makers and sellers from being sued over crimes committed with guns they legally sold.


In his opinion the judge noted that beyond being in direct conflict with the PLCAA, he has “concerns as to whether A1765 can survive on Constitutional grounds,” but because NSSF prevailed on its argument that the New Jersey law is preempted by the federal statute he didn’t need to address its compatibility with the Constitution at this time.

Anti-gunners in New Jersey, including acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, lashed out at Qurashi after his opinion was handed down, calling it an “outlier”, “misguided”, and vowing to appeal.

In a statement following the order released Tuesday, Platkin defended the law.

“The New Jersey Legislature acted lawfully when it adopted public nuisance legislation to hold the gun industry accountable, and nothing in federal law allows firearms manufacturers to violate our state statutes with impunity,” he said. “Another district court already rejected the exact same arguments put forth by the gun industry last year, and we look forward to swiftly appealing this misguided, outlier decision. We will always put public safety ahead of the profits of the gun industry.”

Oh please. New Jersey, like the vast majority of blue states around the country, is putting an anti-gun ideology ahead of we the people’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms, which by necessity includes the right to acquire and purchase them. The New Jersey law halted by Qurashi isn’t about public safety. It’s about trying to sue the firearms industry into oblivion by blaming them for the actions of violent criminals by treating a fundamental right as a public nuisance, and the judge made the right call in blocking enforcement of the state’s underhanded attempt to circumvent the PLCAA.


It’s been a bad week for New Jersey’s gun prohibitionists, with another federal judge granting a TRO against more of the state’s “sensitive places” on Monday and Qurashi quashing the public nuisance statute on Tuesday. The legal hits to the state’s unconstitutional infringements on a fundamental right are likely to continue, at least as long as guys like Gov. Phil Murphy keep trying to criminalize the Second Amendment rights of New Jersey citizens.

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