I recorded today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co shortly before the Supreme Court released its order denying an emergency injunction to halt enforcement of Illinois’ ban on modern sporting rifles and “large capacity” magazines, or else that would have been the main topic of today’s show. Instead, we’re talking about two other very important cases that could soon get the attention of SCOTUS; challenges to New Jersey’s “carry killer” legislation that were convincing enough to a federal judge that she granted an injunction against many portions of the new law on Tuesday.
Second Amendment advocate, firearms instructor, New Jersey concealed carry licensee, Bearing Arms contributor, and all around good guy John Petrolino joins me on the show to discuss the highs and lows of Bumb’s decision, as well as what gun owners are subjected to in the Garden State before they can exercise their fundamental right to armed self-defense outside the home.
While Petrolino is generally pleased with Bumb’s opinion and order halting enforcement of many of the state’s newly established “gun-free zones” and its mandatory liability insurance requirement for concealed carry holders, he believes the judge may have actually forced the state backwards in allowing the default prohibition on concealed carry on private property not open to the public to remain in place, at least for now. While Bumb said that commercial property owners must post signage if they want to prohibit concealed carry on the premises, she also declared that homeowners and other property owners who don’t generally welcome the general public to ban guns on the premises by default.
That’s the standard in most states around the country, but New Jersey’s law comes with a twist: a violation, even incidental or inadvertent, is a felony offense subject to years behind bars. As Petrolino explained, a concealed carry holder out walking her dog could end up charged with a felony if she sets foot on a lawn to clean up her pooch’s business, even though in most other states she’d be subjected to a fine at worst. The default rule itself isn’t really the issue, at least not under Bumb’s interpretation and limits, but the punishment far exceeds the “crime” and could easily have a chilling effect on the state’s concealed carry holders going forward.
In general, however, Petrolino says there’s more for gun owners to cheer than jeer in Bumb’s ruling, including her decision to halt enforcement of the state’s requirement that all concealed carry holders purchase liability insurance. As he pointed out, Gov. Phil Murphy took the opposite approach a few years ago when he issued an executive order directing the state Commissioner of Banking and Insurance “to take all appropriate action within her authority to prohibit and/or limit the sale, procurement, marketing, or distribution of insurance products that may serve to encourage the improper use of firearms.” Now the state legislature is mandating gun owners acquire insurance policies, even though Petrolino says he’s not aware of any company doing business in the state that offers them. In fact, according to Petrolino anti-gun lawmakers are now pushing to require companies to issue those policies, which is reminiscent of the state’s mandate on so-called smart guns that force gun stores to carry the products once their available for sale anywhere in the country.
As I said during the show, while Murphy’s directive and the legislature’s mandate may contradict each other, the commonality behind both decisions (and the Bruen response bill itself) is a desire to screw over New Jersey residents and prevent as many of them as possible from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Judge Bumb’s order doesn’t provide all the relief that gun owners have requested, and will probably be put on hold by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but these cases are still moving in the right direction much to the chagrin of the state’s anti-gun lawmakers and the gun prohibition lobby.