From ‘disappointed’ to ‘thrilled’: N.J. officials, activists react to latest gun ruling
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said he is "disappointed" in the ruling and glad the state is appealing it. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)
Mixed reactions are rolling in to a new order from a federal judge that lifts the state’s ban on guns at various public places and prevents the state from forcing gun owners to buy liability insurance if they carry their weapons in public.
Judge Renée Bumb’s 235-page order comes five months after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law curbing where people can carry their guns in New Jersey and implanting other restrictions for gun owners. The law was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, which upheld the constitutional right for people to carry guns.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin
Coughlin (D-Middlesex), a prime sponsor of the legislation, called himself disappointed by the ruling and commended Attorney General Matt Platkin’s swift move to appeal.
“We in the Assembly remain committed to the belief that guns do not belong in places like … libraries and bars serving alcohol, and we will continue to take action to ensure the safety of all New Jerseyans from gun violence,” he said in a statement.
“The Legislature passed a strong measure that emphasized the safety and security of our communities. We believe that the law is constitutional and support the attorney general’s decision to appeal,” said Richard McGrath, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats.
Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has supported the law since it was introduced and intervened as a defendant in the lawsuit.
In a tweet, the New Jersey Assembly Republicans said the party is “proud” of Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Morris) and Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn (R-Monmouth) for standing up during floor votes to fight the law passed by Democrats. The two lawmakers were cited in the new ruling for questioning the bill during legislative sessions last year.
In a reply, Bergen, who often makes speeches during floor votes, said his soliloquies have “value in them after all.”
Sen. Mike Testa
Testa (R-Cumberland) celebrated the decision.
“Thank god the judges in our courts don’t believe the Bill of Rights is ‘above their pay grades’ like Gov. Murphy,” he tweeted.
Everytown Law is the largest team of gun safety litigators in the country, an arm of the nonprofit nationwide organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Janet Carter, senior director of issues and appeals at Everytown Law, said the decision will “undoubtedly make New Jerseyans less safe.”
“The court’s decision to strike down parts of New Jersey’s law directly undermines public safety and puts our communities at risk,” she said. “Prohibiting guns in sensitive public locations like libraries, zoos, and bars is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment.”
She added: “New Jersey’s law is a common-sense approach to improving public safety and reducing senseless gun violence. The court’s ruling cannot stand and we are ready to help fight this dangerous decision on appeal.”
Firearms Policy Coalition
The Firearms Policy Coalition is one of the pro-gun groups that challenged the state’s gun law.
“FPC is thrilled with today’s outcome,” said Bill Sack, director of legal operations. “New Jersey lawmakers appear intent on continuing to thumb their noses at the mandates of the Constitution but today the Court issued a resounding ‘No.’”
New Jersey Second Amendment Society
Alejandro Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, praised Tuesday’s ruling.
“Disarming the innocent is the greatest form of violence, and once again we are ecstatic that Judge Bumb smacked down a majority of the discriminatory and draconian laws that target minorities and women the most, while tyrants like Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin surround themselves with guns for protection,” he said.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.