ANJRPC PREPARING MAJOR LAWSUIT AS GOVERNOR MURPHY UNILATERALLY SHUTS DOWN
NJ GUN STORES, NICS SYSTEM, AND RANGES
People Need Self-Defense Rights When They are Most Vulnerable
State Government Has No Legal Authority to Suspend 2A Rights
Governor Should Have Applied “Social Distancing” Measures (as He Has Elsewhere) Instead of Shutting Down the Means by Which People Obtain and Train With Firearms
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, N.J. Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 107 amidst the Coronavirus crisis, shuttering all “non-essential” businesses until further notice.
Although the Executive Order does not specifically discuss gun stores or ranges, it applies to all businesses except those specifically exempted, and gun stores and ranges are not listed as exempt (ironically, certain non-essential sellers are exempted while gun sellers aren’t). Additionally, we have received specific “clarification” from the Governor’s office that:
1. Gun stores are not deemed “essential” and are therefore ordered closed (shutting off the flow of firearms and ammunition to honest citizens, who may need them in times of emergency);
2. The National Instant Check System in NJ (NICS) for processing all firearms and ammunition transactions has been shut down completely; and
3. All ranges (indoor and outdoor, public and private) are ordered closed under a restriction on “recreational activities” (is developing proficiency to defend your life really just “recreation?”).
Thus, two major parts of the Second Amendment (means of firearms acquisition, and means of developing firearms proficiency) have been shut down completely, without an end date, by a single government official, by executive fiat. Social distancing protocols, utilized elsewhere to justify keeping certain other supposedly “essential” businesses open, are not even part of the equation when it comes to firearms, ammunition, and ranges.
While ANJRPC continues to dialogue with the Governor’s office over this dramatic and unprecedented overreach, we are not optimistic about changing it through discussion.
Accordingly, ANJRPC is proceeding with rapid development of a major lawsuit to address these unconstitutional measures and to take Governor Murphy (and others in the executive branch of government) to task for overreaching and essentially suspending Second Amendment rights, at a time of emergency when those rights may be needed most for self-protection by the most vulnerable in society.
ANJRPC is also pursuing, at the federal government level, potential proposals that will incentivize states to protect Second Amendment rights in times of emergency instead of undermining them.
Gun rights exist precisely for emergencies like the one the country is facing right now with the Coronavirus. Honest citizens must be able to defend themselves and their families from all manner of threats in this type of emergency – not be blocked from exercising their Constitutionally guaranteed rights. A health emergency may not be used as an excuse to suspend access to firearms and training for self-protection, especially when social distancing practices could have easily been applied to ranges and gun stores instead to keep them open (as they have been applied elsewhere). Failure to do so is an abuse of power, a violation of oath, a violation of the Second Amendment, and puts the public at risk. ANJRPC will spare no effort or expense to challenge this Executive Order and to hold those responsible for it fully accountable for their unconstitutional actions and overreach.