From the Firearms Policy Coalition:
Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) announced the filing of a new federal lawsuit challenging the State of New Jersey’s laws that prevent individuals from carrying a loaded handgun outside of the home for self-defense. This new lawsuit challenges New Jersey’s criminal statutory scheme as it relates to carrying loaded, operable handguns outside of the home without a permit as well as the State’s regulatory scheme as it relates to applications for and issuance of carry permits. The case, Bennett v. Davis, can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
New Jersey law makes it a crime for a law-abiding individual to carry a loaded handgun outside of the home unless they have been issued a permit to carry a handgun, thus denying them their right to bear arms. Worse, State law prevents them from obtaining such a permit because of further unconstitutional requirements, such as the demonstration of “justifiable need”, among others.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has previously said that “private citizens should not be able to carry weapons based on mere generalized fear.” However, say the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court’s precedents take that policy choice off the table, and the Constitution itself provides the only justification necessary for law-abiding adults to exercise their fundamental, individual right to bear arms.
“This case is fundamentally a simple but important one,” said attorney for the plaintiffs, Raymond DiGuiseppe. “In New Jersey today, the right to carry loaded handguns in public for all lawful purposes, including self defense, is completely denied to law-abiding people, like and including our clients. But the U.S. Supreme Court has held that such bans are categorically unconstitutional. We look forward to vindicating the rights of our clients and forcing New Jersey to respect the Constitution.”
“The right to keep and bear arms is not limited to the home. In Heller, the Supreme Court held that to ‘bear’ arms means to ‘carry’ them for ‘a particular purpose—confrontation.’ And even the late Justice Ginsburg wrote that bearing arms means to ‘wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ But the State of New Jersey has totally banned the average law-abiding citizen from exercising their rights. That is unconstitutional and unacceptable,” explained attorney Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy.
“New Jersey’s draconian prohibition on the right to protect yourself with a firearm, the same way politicians and judges protect themselves, has endangered lives and created countless victims. New Jersey residents want nothing more than to protect themselves and their loved ones, as they are entitled to. We are confident the courts will agree and proud to join forces with the nation’s leading organizations, the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearm Policy Coalition, to help take this battle to the highest court,” commented Alexander Roubian, president of NJ2AS.
“The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens, not just a privileged few,” remarked SAF Founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb. “Like other rights protected by the Constitution, that right is not limited to the confines of one’s home. Ever since the SAF victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago ten years ago, the Second Amendment absolutely applies in New Jersey. We will continue to sue whoever we need to as we restore the Second Amendment one lawsuit at a time.”
“The people of New Jersey have been oppressed by an abusive, authoritarian government for far too long, and we intend to remedy that beginning today,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Our nation fought the Revolutionary War to forcefully reject the Crown’s heavy-handed rule and denial of fundamental liberties, including the right to bear arms, but the State has regressively called back to that tyranny as inspiration for its current policies. Governor Murphy, Attorney General Grewal, and other anti-rights government officials may not like that people have the right to carry loaded guns in public, but their opinion doesn’t trump the Constitution. It’s time to bring freedom back home to the Garden State.”
The plaintiffs, including two individuals, FPC, SAF, and NJ2AS, are represented by attorneys David Jensen, DiGuiseppe, and Kraut.
The Bennett case is another important lawsuit filed as part of FPC’s comprehensive strategy to defend freedom, advance individual liberty, and restore the Constitution and its guarantees for individuals throughout the United States.