UNITED STATES NEWS

Federal appellate court dismisses challenge to New Jersey gun law

Aug 18, 2023, 1:34 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A federal appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a New Jersey law that allows the state attorney general to bring “public nuisance” claims against gun manufacturers and others who market firearms.

A three-judge panel with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its unanimous ruling Thursday. They also dissolved an injunction against the law that was issued last year by a federal court judge in New Jersey.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the measure into law in July 2022. The Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation then sued New Jersey in November, claiming it was overly broad and violated the U.S. Constitution.

The appellate court, though, found the NSSF “jumped the gun” in challenging the measure because the state’s attorney general hasn’t tried to enforced it yet and there was little evidence that enforcement is looming.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said he was “thrilled” with the ruling, calling the law an important public safety tool.

“Our law never should have been enjoined, and now it will be back in effect in its entirety,” Platkin said.

Lawrence Keane, the NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel, said the group “respectfully disagrees” with the ruling. He said it was important to note the court did not say the measure doesn’t violate federal law.

“During oral arguments, the panel appeared to have concerns with the law, as did the district court that enjoined enforcement,” Keane said. “Should New Jersey’s attorney general attempt to enforce the law, we will immediately refile our complaint.”

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Federal appellate court dismisses challenge to New Jersey gun law