The Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, New Jersey Second Amendment Society and two private citizens, Stanley Bennett and Michael Hucker, have filed a federal lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s restrictive laws on concealed carry in a case that might put the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Garden State is one of the most difficult in the nation to obtain a carry permit.
Known as Bennett v. Davis, this case could provide the high court with an opportunity to define the right “to bear arms” part of the Second Amendment. The court has already ruled the right to keep arms is an individual right not connected to service in a militia.
According to NJ.com, anti-gun New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is not a defendant in this action, has decided he does not want the laws to change.
“There already are too many guns on our streets,” Murphy said in 2018, “and adding more into the equation will not make New Jersey communities any safer.”
Murphy apparently makes no distinction between guns carried legally and those carried illegally by criminals.
Named as defendants are Clayton Police Chief Andrew Davis, Guttenberg Public Safety Director Robert D. White, Guttenberg Police Officer-in-Charge Juan Barrera, State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, in their official capacities. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
“The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens, not just a privileged few,” said 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.”
In June 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the Second Amendment in the McDonald case and also incorporated it to the states via the 14th Amendment. Translation: The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms now applies as a limit to the states as well as the federal government.
“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,” said NJ2AS President Alexander Roubian. “New Jersey residents want nothing more than to protect themselves and their loved ones, as they are entitled to.”
One paragraph in the lawsuit amplifies Roubian’s remark.
“But for New Jersey’s unconstitutional Regulatory Scheme, the Defendants’ enforcement thereof, and the severe lifelong and criminal penalties associated with violations of the Regulatory Scheme,” the lawsuit says, “Plaintiffs Bennett and Hucker, Plaintiffs FPC, SAF, and NJ2AS’s members and supporters, and other similarly situated individuals in New Jersey would exercise their right to keep and bear arms by carrying on their person a loaded, operable handgun for lawful purposes, including self-defense, outside their homes, without the fear or risk of arrest and prosecution, and the loss of their right to keep and bear arms for engaging in constitutionally protected lawful conduct.”
“The people of New Jersey have been oppressed by an abusive, authoritarian government for far too long, and we intend to remedy that,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “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.”