New Jersey prepares for post-Bruen gun law changes

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The current gun case we’re waiting on from the Supreme Court is focused on a New York law that restricts who can get a concealed carry permit. However, such a law isn’t unique to New York.

New Jersey also has such a law in place. Now, folks there are getting ready for what will happen after the verdict is formally announced.

Evan Nappen has waited for this moment for four decades.

A gun rights attorney from Eatontown, Nappen literally wrote the book — a tome of more than 500 pages — on New Jersey’s Byzantine firearms laws.

But his next book might be much shorter, as a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision on New York’s concealed carry laws threatens to eviscerate New Jersey’s similarly strict rules on who can carry a handgun in public. And it may open the door for further challenges to the state’s firearms statutes, some of the toughest in the nation.

“This will absolutely be a game changer,” Nappen said of the ruling, expected in the coming weeks. “The decision should open up the ability, finally, for honest, law-abiding citizens to get the unicorn of a New Jersey carry license. It’s definitely an exciting time.”

His enthusiasm is not shared by people including gun control advocates and some state officials, who say more guns will mean more shootings.

“We have among the strongest gun laws in America, and we have one of the lowest rates of gun violence in America,” acting state Attorney General Matthew Platkin told The Record and NorthJersey.com. “Any decision that strikes down or significantly restricts our requirements [for a] concealed carry permit application is going to have a significant impact on public safety. There’s no question.”

Except, there actually is reason to question that assertion.

You see, people with concealed carry permits are generally not the people you have to worry about. If they’re interested in securing a permit in the first place, they’re not the people who are interested in breaking the law as a general rule.

Criminals don’t sweat the legality of their gun carrying, after all. They never have and they never will.

So it remains to be seen just how removing a requirement that a law-abiding citizen to show “good cause” to exercise their Second Amendment rights could possibly impact public safety, especially since studies show those with carry permits are more law-abiding than law enforcement, judges, or politicians.

New Jersey, however, will also have to get used to the idea of people being able to get a permit, even if the state would rather they didn’t.

That said, don’t expect New Jersey to just roll over into acceptance. The same with any other anti-gun state that will be impacted by the ruling.

Instead, expect them to start finding ways to make it as difficult to get a permit as they can. Expect training requirements and other things to try and inhibit who can get a permit.

But they won’t be able to universally stop folks, and that’s the big win. We’ll see about getting whatever nonsense they come up with overturned in due course.