Judge blocks New Jersey ban on guns at beaches, casinos

FILE PHOTO: A sparsely populated beach is seen in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jessica Kourkounis

(Reuters) - A federal judge on Monday blocked New Jersey's recently enacted bans on carrying guns at beaches or casinos, though she left in place other restrictions passed by the state in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year expanding gun rights nationwide.

The order from U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden, New Jersey, came in response to a lawsuit brought by seven people and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs challenging parts of a law signed by Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in December.

"This marks the beginning of the end for Governor Murphy's blatantly unconstitutional new carry law, which is going down in flames," said Scott Bach, executive director of the association, in a statement.

"We look forward to being able to appeal the ruling and are confident that it will be reversed," said Tyler Jones, a spokesperson for Murphy.

Bumb three weeks ago blocked other parts of the law in a similar lawsuit brought by different plaintiffs. Those measures included bans on carrying guns in public libraries, museums, bars and restaurants and on private property without the owner's explicit permission, as well as transporting loaded guns in vehicles.

Other parts of the law, including measures tightening gun licensing requirements and handgun safety rules, remain in effect.

The rulings in both cases are temporary restraining orders, which will prevent the bans from being enforced while the lawsuits go forward. They are not final judgments.

Both lawsuits argue that the state's new restrictions violate the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The law was passed in response to the Supreme Court's decision in June that the U.S. Constitution protects individuals' right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense, striking down a New York law governing gun licenses.

The high court's decision left open the possibility for states to restrict guns in "sensitive places" but said any restrictions must be consistent with the nation's historical tradition of gun regulation. Bumb found that the challenged restrictions in both cases did not fit in that tradition.

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