Are shady moves behind NJ casino gun bans?

Are shady moves behind NJ casino gun bans?
DSC29100, Atlantis Casino Hotel, Reno, Nevada, USA

I haven’t spent a lot of time in New Jersey in my life and, no offense to those who live there, but I have no inclination to change that.

The one thing that might make me change my mind are the casinos in Atlantic City and elsewhere in the state.


Yet there’s a problem. It seems the casinos are all on board with Gov. Phil Murphy’s gun control efforts. However, as our own John Petrolino writes over at Ammoland, there may be something shady going on there.

Due to litigation, the carry-killer law has several provisions put on hold through temporary restraining orders. One of the provisions in question, sensitive locations as defined by the new law, is casinos.

In response to the temporary restraining order, the Casino Association of New Jersey – “an organization which represents the casino industry in Atlantic City” –  announced that all casinos in the state will be posted as “gun-free.” The Association’s membership comprises all nine casinos in Atlantic City.

The February 6, 2023 announcement came from Mark Giannantonio, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, and according to Linkedin, the President & CEO at Resorts Casino Hotel:

“The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is a top priority for the Atlantic City casino industry. Considering the Court Order temporarily restraining enforcement of the State law prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms in public places, including casinos, all of the Atlantic City casinos are exercising their rights, as private property owners, to prohibit the carrying of firearms on their premises.” – Mark Giannantonio

There’s a lot of speculation about who is behind the urging of the casinos to become gun-free zones. As illustrated in the below notice, the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs believes Governor Phil Murphy may have put the squeeze on the casinos to salvage some of the unconstitutional laws he championed. Murphy should be embarrassed over how quickly the courts placed his new law on hold.


Now, that seems a bit extreme. How much squeeze can Murphy put on privately funded institutions, anyway, right?

Well, it seems there’s a reason the pro-gun group is making that claim.

The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs put out a statement on February 13th about the decision of all nine casinos in Atlantic City to make their properties gun-free zones.

ANJRPC is calling upon the Garden State’s one million gun owners to boycott all Atlantic City casinos, in the wake of an orchestrated joint effort to ban right to carry on casino premises as “private property.” Given the many millions in taxpayer-funded bailouts of those casinos over many years, it is debatable whether their property can even qualify as “private” anymore.

Casinos have received millions in taxpayer-funded bailouts for many years, including recently under the Murphy Administration, which may have leaned on the owners to ban carry if they are to receive further state funding. Ironically, that state funding may jeopardize the casino ban itself, since government-funded entities may be prohibited from banning the exercise of constitutional rights.

ANJRPC has a valid point about the property and whether the casinos can even ban such activities, given the financial support that taxpayers have given them over the years.

It’s an interesting point, to say the least.

Now, I have no issue with considering casinos private property, and the one area where I diverge most with a lot of pro-Second Amendment people is that I’m fine with private companies saying you cannot bring a gun on their property. They should have that right.


But what about so-called private property that has benefitted significantly from the taxpayer, such as these casinos? Are they really in the same position? Should they be?

Well, it’s easy to say they should still have that right, but not get any more taxpayer money ever again, but that’s kind of simplistic. The damage is done on that front.

Further, casinos getting help from taxpayers makes it a lot easier for a governor to essentially strong-arm a casino industry group into carrying water for him on an issue like guns.

I ask you to go and read the rest of John’s piece, as there’s a whole lot more there than just this bit. However, it’s a long piece–John likes to roll like that, after all–and I couldn’t begin to include the whole thing.

What I can do, though, is point out that something stinks in New Jersey, and this time it doesn’t appear to be Newark.

Well, not just Newark, anyway.

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