SAF, ANJRPC Will Appeal

The Second Amendment Foundation and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs plan to appeal the dismissal of what had been Muller v. Maenza. The ruling from Judge Walls can be found here.


For Immediate Release: 1/13/2012

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs will appeal a federal judge’s ruling Friday that “the Second Amendment does not include a general right to carry handguns outside the home.”

Federal Judge William H. Walls, a Clinton appointee, dismissed a case filed by both organizations challenging New Jersey’s handgun carry laws, which have all but eliminated the right to self-defense with a firearm outside the home.

“The Second Amendment Foundation and ANJRPC are prepared to take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where SAF has already won a landmark case defending the rights of gun owners,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.

In upholding the New Jersey law, which effectively denies the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home, Judge Walls wrote “the protection of citizens from potentially lethal force is compelling.”

“The judge has it backwards,” said ANJRPC President Scott Bach. “If he really cared about protecting citizens from lethal force, he wouldn’t be interfering with their constitutional right to defend themselves against violent criminals. Ironically, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the police owe no duty to protect individual citizens, so you’re on your own when you step outside your home. This decision wrongly demonizes those who want to take responsibility for their own safety and turns all but a privileged few into helpless victims.”

Particularly disturbing to Gottlieb was Judge Walls’ comment, “The Supreme Court has found limitations on the scope of a constitutional right outside the home in the First Amendment context, recognizing a right to privately possess obscene materials in the home but allowing the states broad power to regulate obscenity outside the home.”

“He appears to suggest the right to keep and bear arms is an obscenity,” Gottlieb said. “I wonder how that view might square with Thomas Jefferson or James Madison.”

Judge Walls’ decision sets the stage for appeals which could bring this case to the U.S. Supreme Court as early as next year. The case was filed in late 2010 by ANJRPC, SAF and six individual plaintiffs, challenging New Jersey’s “justifiable need” standard for issuance of handgun carry permits, which is nearly an impossible standard to meet. Plaintiffs believe that requiring a showing of “need” to exercise a fundamental right is unconstitutional.

In New Jersey, Some Justice Is Done

The Second Amendment Foundation sent out the following yesterday afternoon. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state of New Jersey, Jeffrey Muller was finally granted a handgun carry permit by Judge David Ironson. Back in March, this same judge had denied it. I’m not sure what changed the judge’s mind but it is about damn time.


BELLEVUE, WA – A New Jersey judge today announced he will issue a gun permit to one of the plaintiffs in a Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit against several New Jersey officials for deprivation of civil rights under color of law, because applicants cannot show a “justifiable need” for a permit.

SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said today this “clearly indicates that our lawsuit is proper, and we are encouraged to press our case to its conclusion.”

Morris County Superior Court Judge David Ironson announced after a hearing in his courtroom this morning that a permit will be issued to lead plaintiff Jeffrey Muller. His application had languished for six months before Judge Philip Maenza, a defendant in the federal lawsuit, denied the permit without a hearing on the grounds that Muller did not have a “justifiable need.” Muller had been kidnapped by members of a motorcycle gang who threatened to kill him, in a case of mistaken identity. Several suspects have been arrested in that case, and Muller’s application for a permit had gained support from local and state police.

“Finally,” Gottlieb said, “one judge has done the right thing, but it took a federal lawsuit to make it happen. Our other plaintiffs are pushing ahead with the lawsuit so we can put an end to this practice once and for all.”

SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. and several private citizens whose applications for permits to carry have been denied generally on the grounds that they have not shown a “justifiable need.” One of the remaining plaintiffs is a part-time sheriff’s deputy, a second carries large amounts of cash in his private business and another is a civilian employee of the FBI in New Jersey who is fearful of attack from a radical Islamic fundamentalist group. They are represented by attorney David D. Jensen.

“We’re moving forward with this case,” Gottlieb stated, “because there are far too many people just like Jeff Muller whose civil rights have been cavalierly denied on the whims of a judge.”

Ian Argent has some comments on it here. As Ian lives in New Jersey, I think he has a better perspective than most.

SAF Responds To NJ AG

The Second Amendment Foundation posted this response to the New Jersey Attorney General’s brief in Muller v. Maenza on their Facebook page.

NJ Attorney General Argues That The Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms Does Not Apply Outside the Home and

That the Public Needs to be Protected From Those Legally Carrying!

On March 16, the New Jersey Attorney General filed its final lower court response in the recently-filed lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s extreme and subjective handgun carry laws.

As in its previous papers, the Attorney General again trashed the Second Amendment, arguing that the right to bear arms does not apply outside the home, and that New Jersey’s carry laws are constitutional and necessary to protect the public from those who legally carry firearms.

The federal lawsuit, filed in November of last year by Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, the Second Amendment Foundation, and six individual plaintiffs, challenges New Jersey’s unconstitutional “justifiable need” standard for issuance of handgun carry permits – a nearly impossible standard to meet that has all but eliminated the right to self defense with a firearm in the Garden State.

“It is now crystal clear that the State of New Jersey has no intention of ever respecting the right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home, and will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into compliance with the Heller and McDonald decisions,” said ANJRPC President Scott Bach. “With this lawsuit, we intend to do just that, even if we have to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Bach.

SAF founder Alan Gottlieb added, “ With the help of our members and supporters we will fund this legal action all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court just like we did with McDonald vs. Chicago. This case will impact states all across the country.”

The case is now submitted for consideration by a U.S. District Court Judge, who could rule as early as September. Appeals are anticipated regardless of the decision.

SAF will keep you apprised of major case developments as they occur. Please watch for future alerts.

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SAF Reacts To New Jersey AG’s Response

The Second Amendment Foundation released this reaction to the Attorney General of New Jersey’s response to their lawsuit, Muller v. Maenza, challenging that state’s concealed carry provisions:

For Immediate Release: 1/27/2011

BELLEVUE, WA – The New Jersey Attorney General’s motion to dismiss a recently-filed Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit against the state’s subjective handgun carry laws was “predictable and disappointing,” SAF said today.

The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Garden State’s “justifiable need” gun permit standard also involves the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs and six private citizens. It was filed in November in federal court.

The Attorney General’s brief asserted, “When a handgun is carried in public, the serious risks and dangers of misuse and accidental use are borne by the public.”

“That is a pretty lame argument,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Considering that there are more than 6.2 million law-abiding citizens licensed to carry in 48 states, and that many of these people have either intervened in, or prevented crimes by their mere presence, New Jersey’s position on this issue simply defies common sense.”

Gottlieb said the very nature of New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement is arbitrary, discriminatory and “wide open to official abuse.”

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the State’s response to our lawsuit,” noted ANJRPC President Scott Bach. “The right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home has long been disparaged in the Garden State, and if necessary we are prepared to take this lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to change that.”

SAF is also challenging gun permit provisions in neighboring New York and Maryland, and has filed a federal challenge to North Carolina’s Emergency Powers Act. Additionally, SAF filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder over enforcement of provisions in the 1968 Gun Control Act that prevent American citizens living abroad from purchasing firearms in this country. SAF won Second Amendment incorporation in its lawsuit against the Chicago handgun ban, McDonald v. City of Chicago.

Plaintiffs File A Motion For Summary Judgment In NJ Challenge

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the New Jersey case challenging the restrictiveness of the state’s concealed carry law, Muller et al v. Maenza et al, have filed a motion for summary judgment. This is the case in which both the Second Amendment Foundation and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs have banded together with a number of individual plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of the NJ concealed carry law.

You can read the motion here.

While I haven’t had time to read it, I thought it was important to get this information out as quickly as possible. As Sebastian has noted, this case is a facial challenge as opposed to an as applied challenge.