While New Jerseyans bemoan the convoluted state of affairs with regards to gun regulation in the state, we would do well to remember that we are living through history that is setting a bulwark of strong defenses and precedent supporting the Second Amendment for decades to come.
Yes, it is true that our permitting system is a morass of confusion that even law enforcement officials find it difficult to navigate. And as the courts are removed from the system, and the rules and processes seem to change monthly, if not weekly, things are generally heading towards smoother waters.
However, we need not be so myopic. We need to look outside of New Jersey, and understand that these are historically significant moments in which we are living that come along only once every few decades, at best. Our newly affirmed freedoms in New Jersey stem from recent Supreme Court decisions. Keep in mind, there have only been a handful of significant decisions affirming the Second Amendment in the last couple of decades.
As much as the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms are under attack from the progressive and liberal left, we are concurrently living through a time in which our Federal legal system is largely affirming, strengthening, and enhancing the protections of rights that we hold dear for the foreseeable future.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Heller that the “right to keep and bear arms” for lawful purposes is an individual liberty guaranteed by the Second Amendment independent of service in a state militia.
In 2010, the Supreme Court found in McDonald that the “right to keep and bear arms” for self-defense in one’s home (as provided in the Second Amendment) is applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
And finally, in 2022, the Supreme Court affirmed in Bruen, that the “right to keep and bear arms” for lawful purposes of self-defense exists outside the home, in public.
Each of these decisions contribute to a body of legal precedent that will be difficult for future courts to undermine or reverse.
Here in New Jersey as we fight A4769 (the “carry-killer” bill signed by Governor Murphy last year) and await Judge Bumb’s decision on a preliminary injunction, we can clearly see that this case is on a trajectory towards the Supreme Court. The State will surely appeal what is likely to be a decision that supports the Constitution and previous legal precedent protecting the Second Amendment. And that case will eventually land in the laps of a Supreme Court that ruled, just less than a year ago, firmly in favor of an unabridged Second Amendment, based on history and tradition.
It’s extremely rare to have such issues come before the Supreme Court in such a relatively short period of time. We are literally watching history being made. And while things in New Jersey are complicated and frustrating, we can proudly stand and support our rights and be able to tell the next generation that we were part of it.