In a significant ruling, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced on Thursday that New Jersey possesses the authority to sue firearm manufacturers under its “public nuisance” law. This comes as a substantial victory for the ant-freedom state and its ongoing efforts to gut public safety amidst the backdrop of gun rights expansion by the U.S. Supreme Court.
From Fox News:
“A three-judge panel on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a legal challenge brought against the law by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF) was premature. Though the court acknowledged the law is somewhat vague about what conduct can trigger a lawsuit from the state, it nevertheless said the firearms industry “jumped the gun” by filing a legal challenge before demonstrating injury. “
Although New Jersey’s “public nuisance” legislation was signed into law by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy in July 2022, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) moved swiftly, only four months later, to block its enforcement.
NSSF argued that this state law was in direct contradiction to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which offers broad protective measures against liabilities for the gun industry. However, the recent 3rd Circuit decision ruled that NSSF’s legal challenge might have been too hasty. This sentiment was mirrored in Judge Stephanos Bibas’ statement, noting that there was little evidence to indicate that enforcement was imminent.
As a result, he commented, the firearms industry “jumped the gun” by filing a legal challenge prior to any observable harm.
Despite this setback for the gun industry, the NSSF remains resolute. Lawrence Keane, the NSSF General Counsel, pointed out that while they disagreed with the court’s decision, it’s important to underline the court hasn’t expressly stated that New Jersey’s law is compliant with the PLCAA. This distinction leaves a door open for further legal challenges if New Jersey moves to enforce the “public nuisance” law against firearm manufacturers.
This constitutionally shaky law is part of a broader series of gun reforms rushed into law by Governor Murphy. It grants New Jersey the ability to sue the firearms sector over concocted “public nuisance” violations that government officials claim arise from various stages in the gun lifecycle – from manufacturing and distribution to marketing. The significance of this strategy is further highlighted by the establishment of a new office by the state attorney general, Matt Platkin. This office, reportedly the first of its kind in the nation, sole purpose is initiating civil enforcement actions against firearm companies at taxpayers’ expense.
Democrat supporters of the legislation believe it’s an essential tool for public safety. Attorney General Platkin reaffirmed this belief, stating that the law aims to hold accountable those whose actions, driven by profit motives, exacerbate the epidemic of gun violence.
On the national stage, New Jersey’s initiative appears to be setting a foreboding precedent. Following the state’s lead, other predominantly blue states, including Delaware, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, and Illinois, have either passed or are considering analogous measures to attack the gun industry, one of America’s last robust manufacturing sectors. With the 3rd Circuit’s ruling being the first instance of a federal appellate court weighing in on such laws, the decision will likely influence subsequent judicial perspectives.
The journey is far from over. As states tread this shady legal path, they are guaranteed to encounter additional challenges from the gun industry and advocates for the U.S. Constitution. The primary contention remains the incongruence between overarching state laws like New Jersey’s and the federal PLCAA.
Note: Direct quotes and information have been sourced from Fox News and Politico. For detailed references, please refer to the original articles from these outlets. Research behind this article was generated using AI technology and may contain some automated content aggregation and analysis.