BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against several New Jersey officials for deprivation of civil rights under color of law.
SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. and six private citizens whose applications for permits to carry have been denied generally on the grounds that they have not shown a “justifiable need.” One of the plaintiffs is a kidnap victim, another is a part-time sheriff’s deputy, a third carries large amounts of cash in his private business and another is a civilian employee of the FBI in New Jersey who is fearful of attack from a radical Islamic fundamentalist group. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David D. Jensen and Robert P. Firriolo with the firm of Duane Morris, LLP in Newark.
Named as defendants in the case are three Superior Court judges, Philip J. Maenza, Morris County; Rudolph A. Filko, Passaic County and Edward A. Jerejian of Bergen County, plus Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the State Police, Hammonton Police Chief Frank Ingemi and New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow.
“Law-abiding New Jersey citizens have been arbitrarily deprived of their ability to defend themselves and their families for years under the state’s horribly-crafted laws,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The law grants uncontrolled discretion to police chiefs and other public officials to deny license applications even in cases where the applicant has shown a clear and present danger exists.
“If being a kidnap victim, or part-time law enforcement officer, or the potential target of a known radical group does not clearly demonstrate a justifiable need,” he continued, “the defendants need to explain what would. Do citizens need guns to their heads or knives to their throats before the state considers their need to be justified?
“Supreme Court rulings have made it clear that the Second Amendment prohibits states from completely banning the carrying of handguns for self-defense,” Gottlieb said. “Nor may states deny citizens the right to carry handguns in non-sensitive places or deprive them of the right to carry in an arbitrary and capricious manner. That’s what is happening today in New Jersey, and we intend to stop it.”