Gun violence is at an all-time high in New Jersey and across the nation. In 2020, more than 45,000 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. New Jersey has long had strict gun control laws, but recent Supreme Court decisions overturned much of New Jersey's regulations. So, in December 2022, Gov. Phil Murphy signed sweeping new gun control legislation into law banning people from carrying concealed firearms in sensitive locations, aiming to keep New Jersey communities safe.
The New Jersey Gun Law
The new law would bar firearms from certain sensitive locations, including:
- Public libraries,
- Polling places,
- Restaurants that serve alcohol,
- Beaches, and
- Many other locations where people congregate.
The rationale was that these locations could become hot spots for gun violence after the U.S. Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen upended New Jersey's strict concealed carry rules. The Supreme Court case struck down a New York law that made it illegal to carry a firearm in public without showing a special need for protection. The Court's conservative majority held that citizens don't have to prove a special need to take their guns outside their homes because the 2nd Amendment allows them to do so. New Jersey's law also required gun owners to show a “justifiable need,” similar to the New York law.
New Jersey's December 2022 gun law aimed to reenact some restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon without requiring gun owners to show a “justifiable need” to receive a concealed weapon permit. But even banning carrying a concealed gun in specific locations may have overstepped, according to a federal court.
Federal Court Blocks NJ Gun Law
On January 10, 2023, District Judge Renee Marie Bumb issued a temporary restraining order blocking portions of New Jersey's gun law that restricted where people could conceal carry. In her 60-page opinion, Judge Bumb stated that the New Jersey law rendered the entire state of New Jersey a “sensitive location,” and that “The deprivation of plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, as the holders of valid permits from the state to conceal carry handguns, constitutes irreparable injury, and neither the state nor the public has an interest in enforcing unconstitutional laws.”
Governor Murphy expressed disappointment in the judge's decision through his spokesman Tyler Jones. Mr. Jones stated, “While we are pleased that most of our concealed carry law remains in effect, we are disappointed that a right-wing federal judge, without any serious justification, has chosen to invalidate common sense restrictions around the right to carry a firearm in certain public spaces.” Litigation in the matter will continue.
You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you're facing gun charges in New Jersey, you need an attorney with the skill to protect your rights during the process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm have defended New Jersians for years. Find out how they can help you. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686 to schedule a consultation, or contact them online today.