Second Amendment Foundation Sues Over NJ Gun Purchase Shutdown

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy speaks at an election night rally on November 7, 2017 in
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has filed suit against New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy and State Police Supt. Col. Patrick J. Callahan over the forced closure of gun stores throughout the state during the coronavirus crisis.

Governor Murphy ordered a statewide shutdown of all “non-essential businesses,” and that shut down took effect on March 21, 2020, at 9 p.m.

Gun and ammunition stores were not included as essential in Murphy’s order. Moreover, the shutdown was followed by a state police announcement that background checks for gun sales would no longer be performed during the coronavirus crisis.

SAF responded by filing suit to defend the civil rights of New Jersey residents.

The suit, Robert Kashinsky, Racing Rails LLC d/b/a Legend Firearms; New Jersey Second Amendment Society; Second Amendment Foundation, Inc., v.  PHILIP D. MURPHY, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of New Jersey; and PATRICK J. CALLAHAN, in his official capacity as State Director of Emergency Management and as Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, was filed March 23, 2019, in the United States District Court District of New Jersey.

The text of the suit says:

This lawsuit challenges the Defendants’ acts of mandating the closure of all retail businesses that sell firearms or ammunition and of making the portal for firearms background checks unavailable on the website of the New Jersey State Police. Taken together, these actions amount to a ban on obtaining firearms or ammunition in the State of New Jersey.

The suit does not diminish the seriousness of the cornonavirus crisis. However, Plaintiffs note that ” this emergency (like any other emergency) has its constitutional limits. It would not justify a prior restraint on speech, nor a suspension of the right to vote. Just the same, it does not justify a ban on obtaining guns and ammunition.”

SAF’s Alan Gottlieb commented on the shutdown of gun sales in New Jersey, saying, “In order for New Jersey residents to purchase firearms, 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.”

Gottlieb added, “Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment, and neither can Supt. Callahan. 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.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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