SAF sues N.J. governor for deprivation of rights

In a move directly linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy and State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan, asserting violation of civil rights under color of law by shutting down firearms dealerships in the Garden State, thus preventing citizens from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth amendments.

Murphy and Callahan are being sued in their official capacities. The case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the State of New Jersey is known as Kashinsky v. Murphy.

Joining SAF in this action is the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, on behalf of Robert Kashinsky and Legend Firearms, a gun shop in the state. They are represented by noted civil rights attorney David Jensen.

Kashinsky sought to purchase a firearm for personal protection during the current crisis, but Murphy issued Executive Order 107 on March 21, which ordered all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public. The order does not include licensed firearms dealers on its list of “essential” businesses that may continue operating during the crisis.

“In order for New Jersey residents to purchase firearms,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “they must go through a licensed firearms retailer and pass a background check. However, Murphy’s order was subsequently followed by a notice posted on the State Police website that the agency is no longer conducting background checks.

“Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment, and neither can Supt. Callahan,” he continued. “Yet, under this emergency order, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The Constitution, and federal law, don’t allow that. New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they’re the last state to recognize it.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction restraining the defendants and everyone acting on their behalf from enforcing Executive Order 107 “to the extent it operates to flatly prohibit the purchase and sale of firearms and ammunition.”

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