Winning the battle, losing the war

This news article is another installment in the saga of The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs ("Association"). On January 2, 2007 the Association prevailed at trial in its challenge to a Jersey City ordinance. The ordinance limited the purchase of handguns to one per month. Ruling for the Association, the trial court ordered the ordinance as void on grounds of preemption, equal protection, and arbitrariness.

Jersey City appealed, and on September 29, 2008 the Association again prevailed. Ass'n of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc. v. Jersey City, 402 N.J. Super. 650 (App. Div. 2008). The thrill of victory, however, did not last long. After the Supreme Court of New Jersey granted the parties certification, Gov. Corzine signed into law a state-wide limitation of one handgun purchase per month on August 6, 2009. The purpose of the limitation, according to the State, is to prevent illegal gun sales. The theory is that a person who qualifies for a permit to purchase a gun buys weapons for unqualified people.

Having won in court, the Association lost on the political battlefield. At this time the Second Amendment does not apply to the States. Interestingly, New Jersey does not have a provision in its state constitution securing the right to bear arms. Instead, it derives entirely from statute. As a result, it will be interesting to see how the Association does in federal court.

Group sues to overturn NJ's one-gun-a-month law.