On July 26, ANJRPC and several co-plaintiffs commenced a lawsuit against the city of Jersey City to nullify its newly enacted one-gun-a-month handgun rationing scheme on the grounds that it violates state pre-emption law, equal protection, and is unconstitutionally vague. The case is being fast-tracked under administrative procedures that apply to lawsuits against municipalities, and there could be a decision as early as this Fall.
Jersey City Ordinance # 06-082 was introduced by Mayor Jerramiah Healy following his participation in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s April 25 summit of lawmakers against "gun violence.” Initially introduced as a one-gun-every six-months proposal, the ordinance was changed to a one-gun-a-month scheme in response to a grassroots campaign by gun owners trying to defeat the measure.
After a heated debate between gun rights activists and anti-gun extremists at the June 28 City Council meeting, Council President Mariano Vega, Jr. admitted that the gun rationing ordinance "is feel-good legislation that will probably not reduce crime, but we have to start somewhere, so I am voting yes." The City Council passed the ordinance by a vote of 7 to 1.
A second ordinance banning compact, affordable handguns by misleadingly labeling them as "junk guns” and "Saturday night specials” has also been introduced and scrapped twice previously by the Council. A third version of that ordinance is expected.
If allowed to stand, these ordinances open the door to all municipalities passing their own firearms regulations that differ from state law, creating a nightmare patchwork of inconsistent gun laws throughout New Jersey . The pre-emption doctrine is specifically intended to prevent this kind of result by preventing municipalities from regulating matters already addressed by the State.
Co-plaintiff Caso’s Gun-A-Rama – Jersey City ’s lone firearms dealer – is severely impacted by the ordinance and could be forced out of business if the ordinance is allowed to stand.