Gun Rights Groups Challenge New Jersey’s Gun Permit and One-Gun-A-Month Laws

by Vern Evans
Black Semi Automatic Handgun With Polymer Frame On A Beige Bag

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In a concerted effort to challenge New Jersey’s stringent gun permit regulations, a coalition of gun rights groups, as well as a private citizen, has filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that the state’s firearm permitting process is “onerous, unconstitutional and ahistorical.”

The lawsuit, submitted late last Tuesday, involves the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation and Christian Benton, a private citizen from New Jersey who alleges that his permits have not been issued within the mandated 30-day period.

“New Jersey does not allow a person to so much as purchase a firearm without receipt of a government permission slip,” the groups argue in their 35-page legal complaint.

The plaintiffs are targeting the extensive steps required for obtaining a handgun permit in New Jersey, including character references, fingerprinting, multiple fees and background checks. They assert that these requirements, along with delays in permit issuance, infringe upon residents’ Second Amendment rights.

“Making matters worse, some New Jersey authorities do not issue these permits timely, further delaying (and thereby infringing) the applicant’s Second Amendment rights,” the complaint states. Additionally, the permit allows for the purchase of only a single handgun and generally expires 90 days after issuance.

During this “lengthy and arduous” process, the groups argue that residents are unable to exercise their right to “keep and bear arms” as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. They also criticize New Jersey’s restriction that limits handgun purchases to one per month, claiming it lacks historical precedent and infringes on Second Amendment rights.

“This ‘one gun a month’ limitation on the exercise of an enumerated right lacks any historical tradition, infringes on New Jerseyans’ Second Amendment rights, and is an outlier among the states,” the lawsuit contends.

The suit names New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin and Pennsauken Township Police Chief Phil Olivo as defendants. Benton claims that Olivo has not issued his permits within the statutory 30-day period, which he anticipates will happen again with his most recent application.

The plaintiffs seek a court order declaring New Jersey’s permitting process unconstitutional and aim to permanently enjoin the defendants from delaying the exercise of Second Amendment rights in the state.

Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, criticized New Jersey’s “extensive and onerous” permitting process, labeling the state as “the worst of the worst” in terms of gun control. “We’re very optimistic that this case will eventually be the means by which we finally dismantle New Jersey’s unconstitutional permitting policies and liberate their citizens from their anti-gun tyranny,” Pratt said.

Sam Paredes, board member of the Gun Owners Foundation, echoed this sentiment, referring to New Jersey officials as “tyrants” and citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision, which expanded the right to carry handguns in public. “Governor Murphy and AG Platkin have repeatedly and insubordinately bemoaned the Second Amendment and federal court rulings that overturned gun control for years now, and we are excited to finally be confronting these tyrants head on,” Paredes stated. “As we’ve been telling policymakers since the Bruen decision, fall in line, or we will make you.”

This lawsuit comes on the heels of a significant Supreme Court decision that overturned a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, devices that enable semi-automatic firearms to fire at rapid rates, underscoring the ongoing national debate over gun rights and regulations.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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