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Posted: 1/19/2001 4:11:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2001 4:15:21 PM EDT by warlord]
http://inq.philly.com/content/inquirer/2001/01/19/city/PGUNS19.htm Gun groups challenge N.J. assault-weapons lawFriday, January 19, 2001 Gun groups challenge N.J. assault-weapons law By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Gun enthusiasts challenged New Jersey's 11-year-old restriction on military-style assault weapons in federal appeals court yesterday, claiming the law violated the right of sportsmen to associate and exposed them to unforeseen criminal prosecutions. New Jersey's law - considered one of the nation's toughest - is so vague and "overbroad" that it is almost meaningless, Stephen P. Halbrook, the lawyer for the gun owners, told the three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. "There is no way [for state officials] to monitor this law," Halbrook said, adding that it left law-abiding assault-weapon owners at the whim of a county prosecutor's decision to file criminal charges. But New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Michael J. Williams argued that the law had proved itself since Gov. Jim Florio signed it in 1990. "This was a legitimate legislative response to the clear danger that assault weapons pose to New Jersey citizens," Williams added. Williams said his office urges local prosecutors to evaluate possible criminal cases individually and remain open to the arguments of legitimate gun enthusiasts. The judges listened for about 35 minutes before holding the case for further review. The Coalition of New Jersey Sportsmen, two South Jersey gun retailers, and two gun manufacturers sued the state in 1996 over the assault-weapons law, which bans the sale and ownership of 37 models of semiautomatic firearms and others that are "substantially identical." Basically, the law covers weapons that have detachable magazines with more than 15 bullets and semiautomatic shotguns that hold more than six cartridges. The law's only exception lets people own such weapons if they show they are sport shooters who belong to and fire the weapon at a gun club. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez dismissed the lawsuit in April 1999, leading to yesterday's appeal. Halbrook focused his arguments on two areas - the law's purported ambiguity, and the provision requiring gun club membership. He said the law's definitions could result in the banning of newer gun models, and the prosecution of gun owners, which was not intended when the law was enacted. Nor was there any way for the state to ensure that purchasers of assault weapons maintained their gun-club memberships after acquiring the firearms, Halbrook added. He urged the judges to follow the lead of the Sixth Circuit, which in 1998 invalidated a similar assault-weapons ban in Columbus, Ohio. Halbrook also argued that the law violated gun owners' First Amendment right of free association by requiring them to belong to a gun club to legally own an assault weapon. Many gun-club members are supporters of President-elect George W. Bush or are National Rifle Association members, he said, and some assault-weapon enthusiasts may not agree with their political views. That argument drew skeptical questioning from the appeals judges. "There are all kinds of gun clubs," said Judge Jane R. Roth. "A member doesn't have to belong to the NRA." Joseph A. Slobodzian's e-mail address is jslobodzian@phillynews.com © 2000 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Link Posted: 1/19/2001 4:17:47 PM EDT
I think this might be worth following. If they have success in NJ, maybe Kali has a chance repealing at least BS23 or even RR89.
Link Posted: 1/19/2001 5:57:12 PM EDT
Deputy AG Williams really needs to get his head out of his a**. Loser!
Link Posted: 1/19/2001 5:59:49 PM EDT
a**. Loser!
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You mean ASS don't you! [i]I like this site. Much less censoring. You can really tell em how fucking feel [-!-!-][/i]
Link Posted: 1/19/2001 6:16:02 PM EDT
Less censorship is good! Are all the moderators still trying to get into the old site? The expanded legends are cool, too. [sniper]
Link Posted: 1/19/2001 9:57:41 PM EDT
Notice that they didn't raise the obvious arguement - that it violates the Second Amendment.
Link Posted: 1/20/2001 8:22:45 AM EDT
Maybe it's not so obvious. Maybe, we need to pursue a different path in contesting such legislation.
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