Any time there is any kind of ban, there are usually exceptions carved out. As anti-gun zealots who become lawmakers seem to believe that some animals are more equal than others, they usually make sure some people get special treatment, particularly with anti-gun measures.
In New Jersey, they recently pushed through a ban on standard capacity magazines. In the process, they placed an exemption for retired law enforcement. It seems retired police officers might need more than ten rounds in their guns while the ordinary peons in the state wouldn’t.
However, there’s one group of people who weren’t exempted that normally are.
As they clamored to ban standard capacity firearms magazines and turn one million law-abiding citizens into criminals with the stroke of a pen, NJ Governor Phil Murphy and legislators silenced objections from law enforcement by exempting retired police from the ban. But they made a “mistake” in their pandering strategy that could prove fatal to the new law – they failed to also exempt military veterans from the 10-round limit.
Their pandering blunder reveals a serious violation of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: an arbitrary privilege afforded to one group cannot be denied to others who are similarly situated. Retired police and military veterans both have civilian status – the same status as every one of New Jersey’s one million gun owners.
Exempting retired police over veterans, and also over the entire civilian population itself, violates equal protection.
“Lawmakers thought they were pre-empting a groundswell of law enforcement opposition to the magazine ban by exempting retired police,” said Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs Executive Director Scott Bach. “Instead, they created a vulnerability that threatens the very existence of their precious new law, and Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs is making the most of that vulnerability.”
Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs’s pending lawsuit to overturn the magazine ban highlights this equal protection violation, along with other constitutional infirmities of the law. In a recent request for a preliminary injunction halting implementation of the ban, ANJRPC quotes the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found in a similar case (Silveira v. Lockyer) that a “retired officers exception arbitrarily and unreasonably affords a privilege to one group of individuals that is denied to others.” A ruling on the request could come as soon as this month.
I have to admit, it’s a unique approach, and I can’t say that I disapprove.
Also, let’s face facts here. While retired officers may likely have created enemies during their career and may need to protect themselves from those enemies during retirement, ordinary citizens also make enemies. The inner city mother working to combat drugs in her neighborhood could easily anger the local dealers. Regular folks make enemies too, and sometimes they can be powerful enemies. Why do some people get special protection and not others?
Don’t get me wrong, I respect law enforcement and retired law enforcement. There’s one retired officer I refer to as “Dad,” for example. I don’t want anything to happen to them.
On the same hand, though, I believe self-defense is the right of every ordinary American as well, and New Jersey has made that more difficult in their panicking, knee-jerk reactionary approach to guns.