Judge Stymies Gov. Phil Murphy’s Ban on Guns in New Jersey Casinos

  • A lawsuit triggered by the ANJRPC has led a judge to block an NJ ban on guns in casinos
  • The judge ruled that it violated “the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment”
  • A temporary restraining order prevents enforcement of the gun ban while lawsuits proceed
  • A Gov. Murphy spokesperson expressed confidence the ruling will be reversed on appeal
Gun in belt
A US District judge has blocked the ban on carrying guns into New Jersey casinos enforced back in December. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Siding with gun advocates

US District Judge Renee Marie Bumb has blocked part of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s short-lived law banning guns from multiple public spaces.

one month after Gov. Murphy signed off on the gun ban bill

On Monday in Camden, New Jersey, the federal judge blocked bans on carrying guns at casinos and beaches. The move comes just one month after Gov. Murphy signed off on the gun ban bill once it had passed through the state’s House and Senate in December.

The ban resulted in a lawsuit triggered by seven individuals and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC). When the group filed the lawsuit, its executive director Scott Bach said Murphy’s law would “go down in flames.”

Ban unconstitutional

Essentially, the ANJRPC and other plaintiffs argued that the ban went against the Second Amendment, otherwise known as the right to bear arms. The judge at least partially agreed with their argument, ruling that the ANJRPC and the other plaintiffs “demonstrated a probability of success on the merits of their Second Amendment challenge.”

Murphy’s immediately enforced but short-lived Section 7(a), Subpart 18 of the December legislation prohibited firearms in “a casino and related facilities.” All New Jersey’s nine casinos are located in Atlantic City.

While Bumb’s rulings are not final judgements but temporary restraining orders, it prevents enforcement of the gun bans while the lawsuits proceed. In a statement released on Monday, Bach said the judge’s order “marks the beginning of the end for Governor Murphy’s blatantly unconstitutional new carry law.”

Judge Bumb does have a history of siding with gun advocates. This decision comes three weeks after she ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by different plaintiffs, blocking bans on carrying guns in restaurants, bars, public libraries, and museums.

Back to the courts

In relation to the judge’s decision, a Gov. Murphy spokesperson said: “We look forward to being able to appeal the ruling and are confident that it will be reversed.”

Murphy and his lawmakers passed the gun law following a Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. vs. Bruen. The Bruen ruling held “that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

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