Permits to Carry and Sensitive Places (Part 28)

by | May 22, 2023 | Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Permits to Carry and Sensitive PlacesThe District Court continued: Nor can this Court find such distinction made by the Court in Heller or Bruen, as Defendants argue. Indeed, the historical evidence suggests otherwise and Defendants’ insistence that no such presumption exists because a private property owner has the right to exclude firearms from his property misses the point. 17 [State’s Br. 22–23.] Here, the State itself, not a private property owner, is excluding firearm owners from most of New Jersey by default. In fact, the State’s argument that Section 7(a)(24) “protects property owners’ right to exclude firearms from their property by removing their obligation to affirmatively tell every repairperson or customer that firearms are prohibited,” [Id. at 23–24 (emphasis added)], seems to acknowledge what has been customary: that a rebuttable presumption to carry exists.

In the end, this Court finds Plaintiffs’ argument persuasive. And by reversing the presumption to carry for self-defense, the State is, in essence, criminalizing the conduct that the Bruen Court articulated as a core civil right. “The Nation’s historical traditions have not countenanced such an incursion into the right to keep and bear arms across all varieties of private property spread across the land.” Christian v. Nigrelli, 2022 WL 17100631, at *9 (W.D.N.Y. Nov. 22, 2022). Defendants offer two state statutes for the proposition that Section 7(a)(24) is consistent with this country’s history and tradition. The first is a 1771 New Jersey law that prohibited “carry [of] any gun on any lands not his own . . . unless he hath license or permission in writing from the owner or owners, or legal possessor.” 1771 N.J. Laws 346, § 1. The second is an 1865 Louisiana law that prohibited “carry[ing] fire-arms on the premises or plantations of any citizen, without the consent of the owner or proprietor.” 1865 La. Extra Acts 14, No. 10 § 1. The Court finds neither to be convincing evidence, however. The New Jersey law, titled “An Act for the Preservation of Deer and other Game, and to prevent trespassing with Guns,” should not be read out of context. [Docket No. 20, Ex. 13.] It is not gun control legislation, but rather a law to address the problem of poaching and trespass. See, e.g., Chew v. Thompson, 9 N.J.L. 249, 249 (1827) (applying law).

The State’s arguments throughout this case are borderline frivolous. The fact that the Legislature approved the law at issue gives the State greater leeway to make these arguments.