New Jersey ‘Regulatory Scheme’ Draws Federal Lawsuit

Constitution Applies to All States

For years, law-abiding gun owners in New Jersey have been treated ruefully by state lawmakers and the officials responsible for issuing permits to carry, thanks to a state requirement that applicants provide something called “justifiable need” to qualify for a carry permit.

Of course, in most jurisdictions, one can never provide enough “justifiable need” to be able to pack a loaded handgun in public for personal protection. Under this system, Garden State officials have effectively denied the citizens of their Second Amendment rights. But earlier this month, a trio of gun rights organizations and two private citizens took the state to federal court and the case just might wind its way upward to the newly conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

The Second Amendment Foundation, New Jersey Second Amendment Society and Firearms Policy Coalition filed a 47-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. This column knows the main players — SAF’s Alan Gottlieb, NJ2AS President Alexander Roubian and FPC’s Brandon Combs — and they’re not doing this for amusement. They believe they have a good case and have turned loose three experienced attorneys to pursue it. And with a re-shaped Supreme Court and federal courts, there are some far-reaching implications.

New Jersey isn’t the only gulag with prickly permit requirements. Officials in Maryland, California, New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere have the same kind of arbitrary authority over the exercise of the constitutional right “to bear arms.” Whether these people like it or not, when the high court handed down its 2010 ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, it incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. They may have preferred to ignore it, but the Second Amendment now applies to every state, and all of the gun control laws in those states.

Alan Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation

Right ‘Must Be Available’

In a prepared statement announcing the lawsuit, the principles all weighed in. Gottlieb observed, “The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens, not just a privileged few. 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.”

Roubian, who has been living with this nonsense, was blunt: “New Jersey residents want nothing more than to protect themselves and their loved ones, as they are entitled to.” He called the current regulatory scheme a “draconian prohibition.”

Combs was equally direct: “The people of New Jersey have been oppressed by an abusive, authoritarian government for far too long, and we intend to remedy that.”

There is a very good reason to file this case in federal court, beginning with the premise that New Jersey’s restrictive laws egregiously violate the Second Amendment.

New Jersey gun owners have rights. If this case gathers steam and moves forward, officials who have been road-blocking them are going to get a long-overdue lesson about that.

Way Out Northwest

Since we’re talking about the courts, there’s another interesting case out in Washington State worth watching, involving SAF and the National Rifle Association.

Those groups sued the City of Seattle a couple of years ago over a requirement — adopted in defiance of Washington’s model 1985 preemption firearms law that prohibits cities, towns and counties from adopting their own gun control laws — that gun owners living in the city practice “safe storage.” It’s not really defined, but if you’re found in violation, you could face criminal charges or at least a hefty fine.

Forget for just a moment that the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2008 as part of the landmark Heller ruling striking down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban, said requiring guns to be locked up “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” This passage is found near the top of Page 58 of the Heller opinion.

Focus only on the preemption statute, which places all authority for firearms regulation solely in the hands of the state legislature. The original trial judge tossed the case, but a three-judge panel of the State Court of Appeals unanimously reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

When the ruling was announced, Gottlieb observed, “Now we will have a trial on the merits of the case, which I believe we will win eventually. A lot of our cases in Washington state have been stalled and have taken a long time to actually get resolved, and it’s because they really don’t want to rule in our favor, but they know eventually they’re going to have to.”

For good measure, he took a swipe at the city noting, “Rogue city governments, especially ones that let rioters seize neighborhoods and destroy public and private property, cannot be allowed to skate around state firearms laws. Seattle is not a special fiefdom inside Washington State, where officials can make up their own rules, especially when they directly affect the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Imagine a Well-Armed Citizenry

American Handgunner is published for people who own handguns, and during the first ten months of this year their ranks expanded dramatically, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF recently published its “adjusted” background check data derived from raw numbers released by the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS). According to NSSF’s Mark Oliva, “The NSSF-adjusted background checks for January–October 2020 total 17,227,586 and have already exceeded the total 13,199,172 adjusted background checks for the entire year of 2019 by 30.5%.” This covers all firearms sales, not just sidearms.

Last month, Oliva said, the NICS system initiated 1,769,553 background checks directly related to firearms transactions. That’s up 60.1% from the adjusted number posted in 2019.

Long story short, there is a lot of hardware out there. Experienced shooters whose friends may have just purchased their first gun should take a friend shooting so they understand safety rules.

Kimber K6s DASA 4” Target

Kimber Moves to Alabama HQ

Our good pals at Kimber recently announced their new corporate headquarters is now in Troy, Alabama — and they are hiring.

Our experience with Kimber goes back a couple of decades and includes a short stint participating in training with members of the Tacoma, Wash. Police Department some years back when the agency allowed officers to carry Kimber .45-caliber pistols.

According to the company announcement, the expansion “is well ahead of schedule.”

The new headquarters “is situated on 80-plus acres with more than 225,000 square-feet of space and is now home to industry-leading design engineering, product management and manufacturing capabilities,” the company said. “Troy was chosen for a multitude of reasons including its proximity to top-tier engineering schools as well as gun- and business-friendly support from the city of Troy and the great state of Alabama.”

MasterPiece Arms Offers PCC Models

MasterPiece Arms just introduced its AR9 Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) series of long guns on the popular AR platform.

Designed for competition shooters, the PCC is also a good choice for home defense because it chambers 9mm cartridges. Importantly, the company designed the lower receiver to be compatible with GLOCK-pattern 9mm pistol magazines.

The PCC features a receiver machined from 7075 billet aluminum and accepts standard AR accessories, from triggers to optics. The carbine has a closed bolt blowback operating system that operates with a variety of 9mm ammunition.

According to the specs, the PCC has a 16” lightweight 416R stainless steel barrel cut with a 1:10-inch rifling twist and threaded for a suppressor ready. It’s got an MSRP of $1,499.99.