Five gun rights organizations have joined forces with a New Jersey gun store and three private citizens to challenge gun control laws in the Garden State, alleging that state requirements to first obtain a permit to purchase, along with several other bureaucratic speed bumps “unconstitutionally restrict the acquisition of firearms.”
The Second Amendment Foundation is joined in its challenge by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc., the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, the Coalition of New Jersey Firearms Owners, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Bob’s Little Sport Shop, Inc., and three private citizens. They are represented by attorneys David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson and Joseph O. Masterman at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC in Washington, D.C., Daniel L. Schmutter at Hartman & Winnicki, P.C. in Ridgewood, N.J. and David D. Jensen at David Jensen & Associates, Beacon, N.Y.
Named as defendants in the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, are New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan, Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Giamari, Harrison Township Police Chief Ronald A. Cundey and Glassboro Police Chief John Polillo, in their official capacities.
The case is known as Kendrick v. Grewal. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
To understand this lawsuit, one must go back to 2015 and the murder of Carol Bowne, a resident of Berlin Township, whose application for a permit to purchase a gun gathered dust for weeks on the desk of the local police chief. Bowne had a no contact order against a man, and she wanted the gun for protection. Within hours of when she contacted the police department to inquire about the delay of her application, Bowne was brutally murdered in her own driveway. The case caused a national outrage.
Her killer was found about two days later, having taken his own life.
Reporters covering the story learned that police agencies in the state routinely exceed the statutory time frame for issuing permits. It took Bowne’s murder to bring that issue to light, but in the years since, things really haven’t changed.
“The hoops one must go through and waits one must endure, plus the fees attached has resulted in a complicated process that delays approval far beyond what existing state law allows,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “As we note in our lawsuit, such restrictions on firearm acquisition are unconstitutional on their face. No Garden State resident should be subjected to this kind of bureaucratic harassment. The idea that a law-abiding citizen must first obtain government permission before exercising a constitutionally-enumerated fundamental right is simply hostile to the right to keep and bear arms.”
Gottlieb said the lawsuit “has been a long time coming.”