Legal Showdown on Preemption to Continue
On October 11, by a vote of 6 to 2, the Jersey City Council passed Ordinance #06-116. This was Jersey City's latest attempt to rewrite its illegal "one- gun-a-month" law, which passed in June and is the subject of a pre-emption lawsuit commenced by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs.
The two votes against the rationing scheme came from Councilman Michael Sottolano (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (201) 547-5098) and Councilwoman Viola Richardson (E-mail: email@example.com; Phone: (201) 547-5338). Although Councilwoman Richardson originally supported the ordinance in June, she expressed doubts about its effectiveness at reducing crime and changed her vote at the October 11 Council meeting. Members are encouraged to contact Councilman Sottolano and Councilwoman Richardson and thank them for their courage and integrity.
The new ordinance was apparently intended to correct technical defects in the original law, but failed to address the law's fatal defect - the fact that it is pre-empted by New Jersey state law and violates equal protection. It continues to leave Jersey City residents unable to defend themselves if their firearm requires repair or is stolen within four weeks of purchase.
The new ordinance goes even further than the original by adding a new provision making Jersey City residents criminals if they lawfully purchase or even apply to purchase more than one handgun within 30 days. It further targets Jersey City's federal firearm licensees by imposing an impossible burden of ascertaining whether a purchaser has in fact purchased or made application to purchase a handgun within the previous 30 days.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (NRA's New Jersey State affiliate) will continue to challenge the illegal ordinance in Court. Jersey City continues to be defended for free by a private law firm whose services were secured by CeaseFire New Jersey.