Fighting back against what it calls “draconian restrictions on carrying a handgun outside the home for self-defense,” the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the State of New Jersey to overturn the state’s extremist gun control law.
New Jersey’s gun laws made nasty headlines in mid-2015 when Carol Bowne, a resident of Berlin Township, was brutally murdered in her own driveway by a former boyfriend-turned-stalker against who she had a no-contact order. Bowne died while having waited weeks for the local police chief to approve an application just to purchase a handgun for protection in her home.
The lawsuit is getting support from the National Rifle Association.
Several years ago, ANJRPC and the Second Amendment Foundation sued New Jersey over the handgun laws. Federal Judge William H. Walls, a Bill Clinton appointee, dismissed the case, ruling that “the Second Amendment does not include a general right to carry handguns outside the home.”
According to a news release, “Under New Jersey law, a permit to carry a handgun may be issued only to those citizens who show that they face a unique need for self-defense—such as specific, documented death threats or actual attacks. Ordinary citizens are barred from carrying a handgun outside the home for self-defense, under threat of up to 10 years in prison. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit contend those restrictions violate the Second Amendment.”
Unlike New Jersey, other states have user-friendly concealed carry laws. In Arizona, for example, a citizen doesn’t need a permit to carry openly or concealed, According to data from that state’s Department of Public Safety, there are currently 327,225 active carry permits in the state. Arizona is one of about a dozen states that have adopted so-called “constitutional carry” laws that do not require licenses or permits to carry firearms for personal protection.
In the ANJRPC press release, Executive Director Scott Bach stated, “The core Second Amendment right of armed self-defense is just as important to an ordinary New Jersey citizen when she is traveling through a dangerous neighborhood as it is when she is safe in her home…Forty-three states recognize the fundamental right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home, and New Jersey’s days denying that right to its citizens are numbered.”
The lawsuit comes as federal legislation that would allow national reciprocity of concealed carry permits and licenses is stalled in the Senate. It was passed by the House of Representatives last year on an almost party-line vote, but the Senate seems in no hurry to act, frustrating gun rights activists who supported Republicans in 2016, allowing the GOP to take control on Capitol Hill.