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NJ Attorney General Attempts Damage Control on SCOTUS Decision

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A letter from NJ Attorney General Matthew Platkin to US District Court Judge Peter Sheridan

Last week’s decision in a significant case before the US Supreme Court regarding bump stocks caused the New Jersey Attorney General to go into overdrive in an apparent attempt to do damage control regarding some of New Jersey’s strict anti-gun laws that are ripe for challenge.

As we previously reported, the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on bump stocks from the Trump-era Administration in a 6-3 decision last week. A handful of States, like New Jersey, still ban bump stocks and other commonly possessed firearms, including many that they categorize under the vague umbrella of “assault weapons.”

While a case regarding bump stocks might seem unrelated, it became obvious why the New Jersey Attorney General became very vocal in the days following the Supreme Court decision when reading the dissent penned by Justice Sotomayor.

New Jersey Attorney General, Matthew Platkin, either didn’t read the decision fully, or was perfectly happy to perpetuate the myth that bump stocks “turn semi-automatic guns into machine guns.” He issued the following statement in a press release, stating, “As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I condemn today’s Supreme Court decision holding that bump stocks, which convert semiautomatic rifles into machine guns, are not federally regulated.”

Justice Thomas disabused the public of this fallacy in a single sentence, writing, “A bump stock does not convert a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does.”

It’s noteworthy that neither the technically undeniable truth nor the Supreme Court ruling thwarted the ultra-liberal New Jersey Attorney General from pushing his anti-gun agenda.

Platkin, strangely, went on to make a statement that impugned the character of law-abiding citizens (a position the state has also taken in aggressively suppressing and fighting against permits to carry a concealed handgun) stating, “There is no valid reason for any law-abiding citizen to own a device capable of causing extreme bloodshed.”

Platkin’s statement was picked up by news sources across the country, and even Law Enforcement Today wrote an opinion analyzing his comments, stating:

That decision didn’t sit well with New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, a Democrat. It should be noted that Democrats have railed against former President Trump for criticizing judges, district attorneys, and attorneys general who have engaged in Soviet-style lawfare against him. Platkin slammed the high court’s decision, further proof that criticizing the courts is reserved for Democrats.

They also observed that Democrats have manipulated definitions to suit their anti-gun agenda:

Democrats have used the term “mass shooting” to attempt to turn even gang-related incidents into “mass shootings.” By their definition, every weekend night in Chicago sees a couple of “mass shootings.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story is the New Jersey Attorney General’s reaction to statements made by Sotomayor affirming that AR-15-style rifles are in common use – a statement that potentially puts New Jersey’s anti-gun laws in the crosshairs for a massive lawsuit.

Sotomayor, in her dissent, acknowledged that a criminal affixed a bump stock to an AR-15 during a mass shooting, and that the AR-15 is a, “commonly available, semiautomatic rifle[s].” The “common use” classification protects that firearm (and many like it) as affirmed by Bruen, and originated in the Heller case. Liberals were quite unhappy with this statement by Sotomayor.

It didn’t take long for an attorney working on a NJ-based Second Amendment case regarding New Jersey’s “Assault Weapons” and “High Capacity Magazine” bans to pick up Sotomayor’s statement and write to the court to illustrate that the Supreme Court had just made a “stunning admission” that “recognizes the unassailable fact that semi-automatic firearms, the very arms banned by the laws at issue in the cases before this court, are in common use.”

Platkin swiftly responded in a letter as it relates to the case. In his response, Platkin makes the following absurd and almost humorous plea to the court:

Plaintiffs’ reliance on Justice Sotomayor’s statement fails for multiple reasons. First, Cargill has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, a point that the litigants in that case emphasized at oral argument. Second, Justice Sotomayor’s dissent in no way suggests that “common availability” is an appropriate test for Second Amendment protection—let alone a dispositive one.

In penning that letter, Platkin either affirms his ignorance of previous Supreme Court precedent, or is simply furthering propaganda to gaslight citizens in the court of public opinion.

Whether Sotomayor’s admission carries any legal weight is less relevant than the tacit acknowledgment that even liberal justices realize that under current Supreme Court precedent, it’s going to be incredibly hard to ban “assault weapons” or firearms by name that are in “common use.”

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Siegel/Koons v. Platkin
Oral arguments heard Oct 25
Awaiting opinion from 3rd Circuit of Appeals

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