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Supreme Court Denies Cert in New Jersey Gun Law Challenge

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on May 07, 2014 3:59 PM

Under New Jersey law, an individual who wants to carry a gun in public must submit a special application, that among other things shows that the applicant "has a justifiable need to carry a handgun." The District Court for the District of New Jersey found the law constitutional, and the Third Circuit affirmed.

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied cert. Let's take an in depth look at the issues, and the Court's reluctance to hear similar cases.

Drake, et al. v. Jerejian, et al. -- Background

Several individual gun owners and organizations filed a claim alleging that N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-4 violated their Second Amendment rights because, according to them, the Second Amendment "secures a right to carry arms in public for self-defense;" the "justifiable need" standard "is an unconstitutional prior restraint;" and § 2C:58-4 fails the strict scrutiny means-end test. The Third Circuit disagreed, and affirmed the district court's decision.

Other Circuits

Similar regulations have been enacted in New York and Maryland, reports Reuters. And just this year, the Ninth Circuit found that "San Diego County had infringed on constitutional rights by the way it enforced California's law requiring 'good cause' to obtain a concealed-weapons permit," reports The Washington Post.

Supreme Court Denies Cert

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied certiorari, effectively sending a message that it does not want to address the issue. While the Supreme Court has two recent decisions regarding gun rights, the issue of whether "there is a right to carry guns in public [is a] question left unanswered" in those cases, reports Reuters. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that the individuals have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, and in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court held that Heller applies to the states as well.

The Supreme Court may not be ready to address the issue now, but as cities take gun control into their own hands, we expect the Court to address this issue sooner, rather than later.

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