Federal lawsuits challenge carry laws in New Jersey, New York City

Two lawsuits filed this week challenge concealed carry restrictions in New Jersey and New York City.

Two federal lawsuits filed just days apart—one in New Jersey and the other against New York City–challenge laws in those jurisdictions that essentially ban concealed carry by average law-abiding citizens, in violation of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

That’s the position of the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition and, in the Garden State, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society. They’re looking at the potential of Supreme Court review of laws in both localities. Read the New York complaint here.

“The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens in New York, not just wealthy people and celebrities,” 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.”

He said virtually the same thing about people south of the Hudson River. New Jersey and New York are considered gulags by some gun rights activists. In New York City, officials scrambled last year to change a n ordinance that forbade lawful handgun owners from taking their handguns outside of the city in order to avoid a Supreme Court review of their extremist restriction. The New Jersey case can be read here.

That was convincing evidence they knew all along their restriction wouldn’t pass a constitutional smell test, but they never imagined anyone would challenge them in court.

“The State of New York and New York City have enacted broad criminal laws to prohibit the carry of handguns, and then set up an unconstitutional requirement for the issuance of a license to carry, thus completely foreclosing the right,” said attorney Adam Kraut, FPC’s director of Legal Strategy. “This case seeks to strike down these laws and allow New Yorkers and visitors to exercise the right to bear arms as they are entitled to.”

Again, he is echoing remarks made about the New Jersey lawsuit just days before.

“People in New York have a right to carry a loaded handgun in public for self-defense, and contrary to what Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio think, the Constitution fully applies in the City and State of New York,” FPC President Brandon Combs added. “The Supreme Court in Heller was clear that to ‘bear’ arms means to ‘carry’ them on the person in case of confrontation.’ Anything that denies a law-abiding citizen the ability to exercise that right is unconstitutional, period.”

One of Donald Trump’s most important legacies, if he loses the White House, is that he reshaped the federal courts, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

If one or both of these cases wind their way through the lower federal courts and make it to the high court, rights activists believe they have an excellent chance of slapping down restrictive gun laws in other states with similar Draconian limits, which leave the decisions about who can and can’t carry to the whims of arbitrary police departments or other bureaucrats.


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