The District Court continued: In their Complaint, Plaintiffs assert a cause of action against each Defendant for Deprivation of Civil Rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that each Defendant has the authority to enforce the State’s criminal laws, including Chapter 131 subparts 12, 15, 17, and 24 of Section 7(a), as well as Section 7(b)(1)’s prohibition on carrying functional firearms in vehicles, notwithstanding that these provisions are unconstitutional and violate the Second Amendment (as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment). [Docket No. 1 ¶¶ 67––69.]
Defendants do not oppose their authority to enforce these laws. In fact, at oral argument, the State confirmed that Defendants would not agree to forgo prosecuting Plaintiffs for violations of these provisions. [Transcript of Oral Argument held on January 5, 2023 (“Tr.”), at 27 (The Court: “Is the State willing to agree not to prosecute each of these plaintiffs?” Ms. Cai: “No.”).] On December 24, 2022, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause, Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, and Motion for Preliminary Injunction. [Docket No. 8.] On December 26, 2022, the Court entered an Order requiring Defendants to appear and Show Cause why the relief sought should not be granted, as well as setting a briefing schedule for this motion. [Docket No. 13.] On January 5, 2023, the Court held oral argument.
- The Challenged Legislation and Potential Penalties of Conviction Section 7(a) of the newly enacted legislation lists 25 categories of locations where it is a third-degree offense “to knowingly carry a firearm.” 2022 N.J. Laws c. 131. The punishment for a crime of the third degree is imprisonment for up to five years. See N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:43-6(a)(3), 2C:44-1(f)(1)(d).
25 “categories” of locations implies hundreds if not thousands of locations. It is not reasonable for law-abiding firearms carriers to be cognizant of each and every one of these locations in order to avoid committing a serious felony.