In Brief

Brady group wants to join defense of New Jersey gun law

By: - February 23, 2023 12:06 pm

The national nonprofit Brady argues that liability insurance is a "deeply American solution" to risky activities — including carrying guns. (Aristide Economopoulos for New Jersey Monitor)

Brady, the national nonprofit that fights gun violence, is pushing to weigh in on gun rights advocates’ challenge of New Jersey’s new law, parts of which have been temporarily halted by a judge.

The group’s attorneys filed a motion last week in federal court asking to file a brief supporting the new law’s requirement that people who carry guns in public obtain liability insurance.

“Brady has a substantial interest in ensuring that the Constitution is construed to protect Americans’ fundamental right to live,” Brady attorney David A. Luttinger Jr. wrote. “Brady also has a substantial interest in protecting the authority of democratically elected officials to address the nation’s gun violence epidemic.”

Besides requiring concealed carry permit holders to get liability insurance, the sweeping new law, which Gov. Murphy signed in December, also bans guns in a long list of “sensitive places” like schools, beaches, and polling places; increases gun fees; creates new training requirements; and puts law enforcement instead of courts in charge of permits.

Opponents immediately sued to overturn the law. They have argued that requiring gun owners to carry insurance is costly and onerous.

“Even with a carry permit in hand, the state now requires a person to purchase an insurance policy just to exercise the fundamental right to bear arms — as if it were conceivable to require insurance to read a book, attend church, write a blog post, or attend a government meeting,” the plaintiffs wrote in a December brief in the case.

In Brady’s bid to voice its support for the law, attorneys argue that liability insurance has been an “American solution” for nearly a century to mitigate the risks of a range of activities.

“By requiring that anyone who carries a gun in public in New Jersey have a liability-insurance policy covering losses or damages resulting from any accidental use of the firearm, the state adopts a relatively novel use of a tried-and-true method in America of managing recurring, common, and misallocated costs,” Luttinger wrote. “In fact, harnessing the private market in this way is a deeply American solution to difficult problems.”

State police said last summer they expected hundreds of thousands of gun owners to apply for concealed carry permits in New Jersey after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a New York law requiring gun owners to show “proper cause” why they need to carry a gun outside their home. The decision toppled New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement too.


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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.