Promising Sign For Case Seeking SCOTUS Cert?

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Last week Cam reported on the Supreme Court of the United States denying certiorari to three Second Amendment related cases. The cases were: Russell v. New Jersey, Weber v. Ohio, and Roundtree v. Wisconsin. Respectively, the cases dealt with the matter of carry outside the home, being intoxicated while using a weapon creating a disqualifier, and a non-violent felony for non-payment of child support. Also noted in Cam’s piece are two cases that did not hit the cutting room floor as of yet; Young v. Hawaii and Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs v. Bruck. Those cases deal with the matter of “open” carry of firearms in Hawaii and New Jersey’s prohibition on the possession of detachable box magazines holding over ten rounds. In an update to the piece it was noted:


Neither the Young or ANJRPC case were re-listed for this week’s conference, which means they’re likely being held pending the decision in NYSPRA v. Bruen. I’m taking this as a positive sign that at least four justices believe the Bruen decision is going to substantively address the standard of review that should be used in Second Amendment challenges, which would have an impact on both the New Jersey magazine ban case, and the Hawaii right-to-carry case.

What has gotten little coverage is another case out of New Jersey, P.Z. v. The State of New JerseyP.Z. was docketed on August 6th, 2021 with the Supreme Court and comes from the same firm that the now denied cert Russell case came from. Evan Nappen as the Council of Record with Louis Nappen. The P.Z. case is teed up to be potentially the one that brings down so-called “red flag” laws. While the actual New Jersey extreme risk protective order statute was not used in this situation, an older law from the 90’s was executed in the taking of P.Z.’s firearms. From the complaint:

Petitioner P.Z. was the defendant before the New Jersey Superior Court Family Part, the New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division, and the New Jersey Supreme Court in a weapon forfeiture motion filed by respondent concerning weapons and firearm permit(s) seized from petitioner for safekeeping pursuant to a warrant section of a dismissed domestic violence temporary restraining order.

In the case at hand, New Jersey seized petitioner’s firearms “for safekeeping” pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. App. 1. Although the temporary restraining order that contained the warrant was dismissed, New Jersey refused to return said firearms “in the interest of public health, safety or welfare.” App. 29; App. 11-12. Because petitioner’s firearms were seized and not returned to him, New Jersey forever bars him from again possessing firearms. N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-3c(8); N.J.S.A. § 2C:39-7b(3). This is how New Jersey’s firearm permit/forfeiture scheme systematically deprives people of their right to possess firearms in their homes.

If states are going to have firearm licensing and firearm forfeiture statutes, then each provision within such statutes must pass constitutional muster. Petitioner argues that New Jersey’s gun control statutes do not pass constitutional muster since they are vague and/or overbroad balancing tests that do not provide sufficient Due Process or forms of redress, and that the situation requires this Court’s review for relief.


That’s the absurdity of New Jersey’s law. If a firearm is not returned to an individual after it was confiscated due to a domestic violence temporary restraining order (TRO), the person is forever banned from ownership. In this case, the court petitioned for P.Z.’s firearms to not be returned to him or her. The crazy thing about this law is should an individual have such a TRO imposed upon them, with firearms being taken by the authorities, and subsequently the TRO is dismissed, they’re still not in the clear. If the plaintiff decides to not reclaim their firearm even if the prosecutor and court says it’s “ok”, they fall subject to the same disqualifier as P.Z.. In short, if a person does not jump through the hoops to get back a firearm that let’s say is only worth $100.00, and says “ah, forget that piece of junk”, they will be forever banned from firearm ownership. This law is ridiculously egregious.

In what we’d expect nothing less of the State of New Jersey, as of the end of September they did not respond to the filing. On the 29th, the Supreme Court did request (which is a nice way of saying “demand”) a response from the Garden State. Is that a promising sign? Well for one, the case was not denied cert. So maybe? Or is it that the high and mighty hubris attitude of New Jersey does need to continually be kept in check? New Jersey on more than one occasion refused to respond to Supreme Court filed complaints concerning the Second Amendment. The court does have a compelling reason to make all parties participate even if a case is going to be denied. Regardless, P.Z. is another case sitting in waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to make a move on. Like all these other high profile cases, we’ll be watching P.Z. closely and report any appreciable status change.


If you want to hear Nappen discuss the law involving the non-return of a firearm after such a TRO, you can listen to his Gun Lawyer Podcast Episode 42 where he breaks it down:


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