TRENTON, N.J. – The first major constitutional challenge to Governor Phil Murphy’s closure of “non-essential” privately-owned businesses is being mounted by a leading gun rights group.
The New Jersey Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) – the NRA’s state chapter – announced over the weekend that it plans to sue the governor for shuttering gun stores and ranges. The group also say it confirmed that the National Instant Check System in NJ (NICS) utilized for processing firearms and ammunition purchases is not functioning during the present state of emergency.
“Gun rights exist precisely for emergencies like the one the country is facing right now with the Coronavirus,” ANJRPC explained in its release. “Honest citizens must be able to defend themselves and their families from all manner of threats in this type of emergency – not be blocked from exercising their Constitutionally guaranteed rights. A health emergency may not be used as an excuse to suspend access to firearms and training for self-protection, especially when social distancing practices could have easily been applied to ranges and gun stores instead to keep them open (as they have been applied elsewhere).”
The Second Amendment stands to remain a hot topic through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. For example, authorities in some of neighboring Pennsylvania’s counties have reportedly stopped issuing gun permits.
Those seeking to protect themselves remain largely undeterred; gun and ammo sales nationwide continue to surge.