NRA, NJ Resident Team Up To Kill State's Carry Restrictions

I hadn’t been writing for Bearing Arms long when a reader reached out to me about a story I wrote. During our discussion, he lamented the state of his affairs in New Jersey. He was jealous of me living in a Shall Issue state, and I can’t say that I blame him.

However, a team up in the Garden State may change fortunes for all gun owners there.

A Wall man, a statewide association of gun clubs and the National Rifle Association are taking on New Jersey’s gun laws, asking a federal court to throw out the state’s restrictions on carrying handguns in a case they hope will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thomas R. Rogers, described as a Wall businessman who services ATM machines in high-crime areas, and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to have what they said were New Jersey’s “draconian” gun restrictions declared unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, supported by the NRA, asserts that New Jersey’s restrictions on carrying guns violate the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

New Jersey’s law limits the right to carry firearms outside the home to those individuals who can show they have a “justifiable need” to do so, according to the lawsuit.

In order to do that, the individual “must establish specific or serious threats or previous attacks which put him in special and unavoidable danger to obtain a permit from the state to carry a firearm in public,” the suit says.

The effect is “to make it wholly illegal for typical law-abiding citizens to carry handguns in public – for by definition, these ordinary citizens cannot show that they face a serious or specific, unavoidable threat that poses a special danger to their safety,” the suit said.

That’s the way it shakes out for a lot of people.

However, that’s also how it shook out for a lot of people in Washington, D.C., before a federal court heard a similar case there. In that case, the judge agreed that the May Issue provision amounted to an infringement of citizens’ Second Amendment rights. The District of Columbia opted to not take the case before the Supreme Court out of fear that a decision against them would spell disaster for gun control laws elsewhere in the nation.

To be sure, I don’t expect the federal court in New Jersey to take the same position as in the District’s case.

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If it does find against the plaintiff, that opens the door for taking the case further up the food chain, possibly to the Supreme Court. If that happens, and the Court agrees to hear the case, then it could have ramifications throughout the entire nation when it comes to May Issue states.

Frankly, that’s what we need at this point. It’ll take a Supreme Court ruling telling citizens that having to demonstrate a need in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights is unconstitutional to put an end to this brand of insanity.