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THIS WEEK IN THE COURTS: Everytown, NJ Chapter of Moms Demand Action Mobilize in Advance of Oral Arguments in Koons v. Platkin, Call on Third Circuit Court of Appeals to Uphold New Jersey’s Life-Saving Gun Safety Law

October 28, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA – This week, Everytown for Gun Safety and the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action took action in support of New Jersey’s common-sense law keeping guns out of parks, playgrounds, bars and other sensitive places as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Koons v. Platkin, a challenge brought forward by the New Jersey affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and other gun lobby groups and individuals. 

On Tuesday, Senate President Nicholas Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin joined members of New Jersey’s Moms Demand Action chapter for a virtual press briefing. On Wednesday, over 30 members of the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action gathered in Philadelphia alongside Attorney General Matthew Platkin to rally outside the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, calling on the court to uphold New Jersey’s life-saving law. This week’s actions come as the nation is once again reeling following the devastating mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, which were carried out in public places, including a bar and restaurant. 

Attorney General Matthew Platkin spoke about New Jersey’s life-saving law and how it is consistent with the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen:

“Everything in this law is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, and our Nation’s practice going back centuries. I am confident that after today’s argument, we will win, and the law will remain in effect. You are six times more likely to be shot and killed in Mississippi than in New Jersey, not only because of our gun laws but because we fight for them – together with our partners like Moms Demand Action, who have been instrumental in helping us improve and strengthen our gun laws and have stood with us every step of the way.”

New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari spoke about the public safety implications of allowing guns in public, especially in sensitive places:

“People think they are going to go out and play cowboy but we all must understand the enormity of the responsibility when we carry a gun in public.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin spoke about the passage of New Jersey’s common-sense law in the wake of the Bruen decision and how restricting guns in sensitive places like daycares helps to prevent gun violence in our communities:

“Every parent has the right to take their child to daycare, to school, and not have to worry about guns or dangerous weapons being there.  Parents and families visiting loved ones in a hospital should have the right to be safe from gun violence. Parents should be able to take their kids to the beach, a concert, or a sporting event without worrying if there are hundreds of people carrying concealed weapons there.”

Sue Repko, a gun violence survivor and member of Everytown’s Survivor Network, shared the story of her father who practiced concealed carry throughout her childhood, including in sensitive places like her high school gym or while serving as a teacher at a nearby high school:

“This guns-everywhere, my-way-or-the-highway behavior continued even after the tragic event that marked the end of my childhood. My father ran a gun shop out of a small garage in our backyard in a residential neighborhood. On a Sunday evening in May 1975, while test-firing a malfunctioning pistol, a second bullet discharged on its own, going through a window and striking our neighbor, Warren Landes, who was in his open garage barely 10 yards away. He had gone in there for a gardening tool and crawled out, fighting for life. I was 12 years old, watching my father cry over him for an ambulance and for God. Mr. Landes died a couple days later.”

Benedicte Callan, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action, spoke about the gun lobby’s callous attempts to invalidate New Jersey’s life-saving law, regardless of the potentially deadly implications:

“The gun lobby would like to overturn common sense laws prohibiting guns in sensitive places, they do not want there to be public places where we should not have to worry about who is carrying concealed weapons and what they might do to our kids.”

Last year, the United States Supreme Court issued a dangerous decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, striking down a key aspect of New York’s concealed carry law and changing the rules for how courts assess Second Amendment cases moving forward. The Bruen decision unleashed chaos in the courts and opened up common-sense gun safety laws to legal challenges brought forward by the gun lobby in pursuit of their ‘guns everywhere’ agenda. 

In the aftermath of the Bruen decision, Moms Demand Action volunteers in New Jersey advocated for the passage of legislation that would address the new dangers created by the Supreme Court’s flawed decision. Gun sense legislators in New Jersey took action and enacted legislation that strengthens state law by revising the standards for who is eligible to obtain a carry permit in New Jersey. The law also established a list of locations where guns cannot be carried, such as parks, playgrounds, and bars. 

Following the enactment of New Jersey’s common-sense law, gun-lobby groups and individuals, including the New Jersey affiliate of the National Rifle Association and the Firearms Policy Coalition, immediately challenged the law, a tried and true tactic of the gun lobby, especially in the aftermath of the Bruen decision. 

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