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3rd Cir Roundup: Gun Laws, Racist Tweets, Underage Sex and More

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 09, 2013 4:32 PM

New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are keeping practitioners on their toes with a host of legal issues arising from hot news stories. Here's a roundup of the goings on in the states of the Third Circuit...

Giffords' Advocacy Group Urges Passage of NJ Gun Law

Governor Christie signed ten new gun bills into law on Thursday, but Gabbie Giffords' advocacy group is urging Christie to sign another into law, with a petition of over 3,000 signatures.

The law in question would overhaul the way gun permits are issued, reports The Star-Ledger. The proposed law would require immediate background checks for private sales, buyers to show completion of safety training, would encode firearms permits on a photo ID card or driver's license and enforce stricter penalties for those who let kids get their hands on guns. Predictably, pro-gun groups are urging the Governor not to sign and are threatening political repercussions should Gov. Christie decide to run for President.

Federal Judge Blocks Law Re: Online Ads for Underage Sex

In early July, a new law signed by Gov. Christie was set to take effect, but Federal District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law. The law in question would make "it a first-degree crime to knowingly publish, disseminate or display an advertisement and photographs promoting sex with a minor." What's the fuss about? Isn't that a good thing?

The court noted the commendable nature of the bill, but noted that it was probably in violation of federal law and the Constitution, reports The Star-Ledger. Under federal law, websites are protected from liability for the statements that its users publish online.

DUI Checkpoints in Pennsylvania

A writer for the Philadelphia Daily News questions whether DUI checkpoints are necessary, or even constitutional. Twenty-three years ago the Supreme Court decided that DUI checkpoints are constitutional because the minimal violation of one's Fourth Amendment rights was outweighed by the state's interested in curbing drunk driving.

Twelve states have found that checkpoints violate their state constitutions, and don't implement them. While other states utilize checkpoints, perhaps it's time for the Supreme Court to revisit the issue and give states more guidelines to minimize the Fourth Amendment intrusions.

Racist Tweet Deleted in Senate Campaign

Republican Steve Lonegan is seeking the GOP nomination for Senate, though a tweet purportedly published by a staffer may make that difficult, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The tweet was about Democratic candidate Newark Mayor Cory Booker and stated:

'#breaking just leaked - Cory Booker's foreign policy debate prep notes,' and below it was a map of heavily African-American Newark. Scrawled over the map in different places was, 'West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil.' Another annotation, pointing to Newark, read, 'Middle East,' followed by 'Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Bangladesh and Trinidad,'

reports Politico. Lonegan quickly demanded removal of the now-deleted tweet.

As these issues make their way through the courts, we'll be here to follow-up on them for you.

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