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In the ongoing case of Ronald Koons et al. against Matthew Platkin, Patrick Callahan, Nicholas Scutari, and Craig Coughlin, the plaintiffs are challenging state legislation that restricts the possession of firearms in sensitive locations and vehicles, citing violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
After careful consideration, the District Court made several key rulings. First, it determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring a First Amendment challenge regarding the firearms permitting process. Additionally, the court found that the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed in their claims that the permitting process's public safety disqualifiers and increased fees violated the Second Amendment or the Due Process Clause.
However, the court did grant the plaintiffs standing to challenge the handgun ban on private property that is open to the public. It also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs' claim that the firearms ban at various public locations and in vehicles violated the Second Amendment.
Although the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in part, it did grant it in part, highlighting the complexity of the case and the various legal arguments at play.
In the Koons v. Platkin case, the plaintiffs are challenging state legislation that restricts the possession of firearms in sensitive locations and vehicles. This case, along with the referenced Bruen case, has become a significant legal battleground for Second Amendment challenges to firearm laws.
Unfortunately, the State failed to present sufficient historical evidence to support the new legislation, despite promising that they would. As a result, the Court took it upon itself to conduct its own research into the history and tradition of regulating firearms.
After careful consideration, the Court found that most of the new legislation's firearm permitting requirements align with the Second Amendment. However, the State's extensive list of "sensitive places" effectively prohibits the carrying of a handgun virtually everywhere in New Jersey.
During the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) phase, the Koons Plaintiffs challenged only select sensitive place restrictions, while the Siegel Plaintiffs raised several constitutional challenges to Chapter 131 and other preexisting firearm laws. The Court granted the Koons Plaintiffs' TRO Motion on the challenged provisions but reserved judgment on their request for a preliminary injunction. Similarly, the Court granted the Siegel Plaintiffs' TRO application in part and denied it in part.
Currently, the Court is in the process of considering the plaintiffs' preliminary injunction motions regarding Chapter 131's handgun ban at various "sensitive" places.
In their challenge to Chapter 131, the plaintiffs argue that the legislation violates not only the Second Amendment but also the Fourteenth Amendment. They are specifically challenging the provisions outlined in Subparts 21 to 24, which prohibit handguns at various health care facilities, addiction or mental health treatment facilities, filming locations, and private properties without owner consent. Additionally, they contest the prohibition on functional firearms in vehicles, as well as other provisions such as the liability insurance requirement, fee increases, and the new fourth-degree crime for the "unjustified display of a handgun."
On the other hand, the State argues that the plaintiffs cannot meet the standard for injunctive relief and that the challenged provisions are consistent with the Second Amendment. To determine the validity of these arguments, the Court delves into the legal standards for a preliminary injunction and the substantive legal standard established in the Bruen case.
The Bruen case provides guidance to the Court, emphasizing the importance of analyzing history to determine whether modern firearms regulations align with the Second Amendment. In doing so, the Court must thoroughly consider how and why these regulations burden a law-abiding citizen's right to armed self-defense. Ultimately, the Court must assess whether modern and historical regulations impose a comparable burden on the right of armed self-defense and whether that burden is justified.
Throughout the document, the Court references the Bruen Court's discussion of the permissibility of "sensitive place" legislation, highlighting the complexity of the issue at hand. In addition, the document provides an overview of New Jersey's firearm permitting scheme, which entails obtaining various permits for purchasing or carrying firearms in public.
By outlining the requirements for obtaining a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FID) and permits for purchasing and carrying handguns, the document offers insight into the practical aspects of the legislation. It also highlights the changes made by Chapter 131, including the removal of the "justifiable need" requirement for a Carry Permit, the addition of statutory disqualifiers, and increased fees.
Notably, the Siegel Plaintiffs contest the fee increases, the requirement to pay the fee to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office, and two statutory disqualifiers. The document further delves into the process for appealing a denied permit application and discusses the standing of the Siegel Plaintiffs to challenge Chapter 131's new permit process.
The State argues that the Siegel Plaintiffs with Carry Permits lack standing because they obtained their permits before the law changed. However, the Siegel Plaintiffs counter that they will have to comply with the new process when they renew their permits, which they believe violates the Second Amendment.
To determine standing, the document explains the "imminence requirement," which necessitates a future injury that is "certainly impending." In this regard, the Court finds that Plaintiff Varga has standing because his permit will expire in December 2024, and he will be required to comply with the new process. Similarly, Plaintiff Cuozzo is deemed to have standing because she is "able and ready" to apply for a Carry Permit.
The document delves into the eligibility of different plaintiffs to challenge the permit process outlined in Chapter 131 for firearms. For instance, Plaintiff Cuozzo has the standing to challenge the law because she is fully prepared and capable of applying for a Carry Permit. However, other plaintiffs lack standing as they have not taken any steps towards obtaining the permits they desire. The Siegel Plaintiffs, on the other hand, do not have standing to bring a First Amendment challenge to Chapter 131's application requirements since they have not identified any protected speech or conduct that they have refrained from due to the new requirements. Additionally, the document explores the constitutionality of Chapter 131's application and permit process, highlighting the Second Amendment's presumptive guarantee of the Siegel Plaintiffs' right to carry handguns in public for self-defense.
The document also emphasizes the need for the State to demonstrate that Chapter 131's new permit process aligns with the historical tradition of firearm regulation. It addresses the Siegel Plaintiffs' objections to multiple aspects of Chapter 131's permit process, including the statutory permit disqualifiers and the application process. Furthermore, the document delves into the "virtuous citizen" theory of the Second Amendment, which argues that the right to bear arms is a civic one, and individuals lacking respect for government authority are deemed "unvirtuous" and unworthy of possessing firearms. The State argues that Bruen endorsed Chapter 131's statutory disqualifier by disarming individuals who lack the essential temperament to be entrusted with a firearm.
To support its arguments, the document delves into the historical tradition of disarming dangerous individuals, citing various English laws from medieval times to the Reconstruction era. It explores both English and American colonial disarmament laws that aimed to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms. Examples include the Statute of Northampton, which allowed for the arrest and disarmament of individuals who went armed to terrorize the public, as well as the Virginia and North Carolina laws that permitted the arrest and disarmament of individuals engaged in similar behavior. The document also delves into the early American colonies' practice of disarming dangerous citizens, with Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia enacting statutes that codified the common law offense of bearing arms to terrorize the people. It further highlights instances of disarmament, such as the disarmament of Catholics in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as the disarmament of Native Americans and slaves.
In addition to historical examples, the document discusses three proposals from state constitutional ratification conventions in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire that support the notion that the Founders understood the government's authority to disarm dangerous individuals.
The document also explores the evolution of disarmament laws in Massachusetts, which eventually led to the implementation of surety laws restricting individuals' ability to carry firearms in public. It references the case of Bruen, which held that surety laws were justified in protecting the public from potential firearm misuse. Furthermore, the document delves into the interpretation of the term "peaceable" within the context of the Second Amendment, which was commonly understood to mean nonviolent. It also discusses the proposal from the New Hampshire constitutional convention to amend the Constitution, prohibiting Congress from disarming any citizen unless they were in actual rebellion. Moreover, the document highlights the tradition of disarming dangerous individuals during Reconstruction, citing examples from South Carolina and the Freedman Bureau. Post-ratification disarmament laws are also addressed, confirming the public's understanding of the necessity to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
The document explores the justification for Chapter 131's statutory disqualifiers known as the "unvirtuous citizen" theory, which has faced criticism from judges and scholars. It also references the case of Range v. Att'y Gen., which was re-heard en banc and subsequently vacated, thereby losing precedential support. Additionally, the document delves into the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge to Chapter 131's public safety statutory disqualifiers, arguing that they are too vague and encourage arbitrary discretion by public officials. However, it counters this argument by asserting that these disqualifiers provide sufficient standards to guide licensing officials and eliminate the risk of arbitrary enforcement. The document also discusses the procedural mechanisms within Chapter 131 that allow applicants to appeal a denial of their FID, Purchase Permit, or Carry Permit applications to the Superior Court of New Jersey. It argues that Chapter 131 provides notice to individuals of ordinary intelligence, enabling them to understand the conduct that will prevent them from obtaining an FID or Purchase or Carry Permit.
Furthermore, the document delves into Chapter 131's application process, which includes requirements for reputable persons' endorsement and in-person interviews. It argues that these requirements aim to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms. However, the Siegel Plaintiffs challenge these requirements, claiming they are burdensome and overbroad.
The court thoroughly examines the issue of standing for the Siegel Plaintiffs in their challenge against the insurance mandate. It determines that the plaintiffs indeed have standing because their conduct of carrying handguns in public for self-defense is "arguably affected with a constitutional interest" and is also "proscribed by a statute" - the insurance mandate. Additionally, the court recognizes that the plaintiffs face a credible threat of prosecution if they fail to comply with the insurance mandate. Consequently, the court concludes that the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge is ripe for review since they face a real threat of harm if they do not adhere to the mandate.
To assess the ripeness of the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge, the court considers three factors. It examines the adversity of interests between the parties, acknowledging the plaintiffs' interest in carrying handguns in public and the state's interest in enforcing the insurance mandate. The court also evaluates the conclusiveness of a potential judgment, finding that a declaratory judgment would effectively resolve the dispute. Finally, the court analyzes the utility of the judgment, recognizing that a declaratory judgment would provide clarity to the Siegel Plaintiffs regarding their obligation to comply with the insurance mandate.
Moving on to the constitutionality of the insurance mandate, the court begins by examining the Second Amendment's text. It concludes that the insurance mandate directly impacts the right to carry firearms in New Jersey since non-compliance with the mandate prohibits individuals from bearing arms in public for self-defense. Despite the state's argument that the insurance mandate falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment's regulation of who can bear arms, the court rejects this contention.
The state further asserts that the insurance mandate is constitutional based on historical laws that allocated the risk of injury caused by guns to the gun owner rather than the victim. However, the court does not reach a definitive conclusion on this particular argument.
Next, the court delves into the impact of the insurance mandate on the right to carry firearms for self-defense in New Jersey. It highlights that the insurance mandate does not guarantee that those seeking to carry firearms are law-abiding and responsible citizens. The court also examines historical surety laws that the state argues are comparable to the insurance mandate. However, it determines that these surety laws are not "relevantly similar" since they only burdened arms bearers after a complainant demonstrated "reasonable cause." On the other hand, the insurance mandate applies to all individuals seeking to carry a handgun in public. The court also notes that the penalties for violating the insurance mandate are significantly harsher than those for violating a surety bond. Although the court acknowledges the NAGR decision, which likened an insurance requirement on firearm owners to the surety laws, it declines to adopt that reasoning.
The court then addresses the state's argument that the insurance mandate is justified by historical tort law principles that imposed strict liability on firearm owners. It finds that the insurance mandate is not "relevantly similar" to these historical tort law principles since it applies to all Carry Permit holders, whereas the historical principles only applied to gun owners who caused injury to another person or property. Furthermore, the court discusses the "Sensitive Place" laws that restrict firearm possession in specific locations. It determines that while the Koons Plaintiffs have standing to challenge these laws, the Siegel Plaintiffs do not.
Moreover, the court explores the requirements for Article III standing. It refutes the notion that the plaintiffs must provide precise dates and times of their visits to each sensitive location, considering it impractical and overly demanding. Instead, the court evaluates whether the prospective injury to the plaintiffs is concrete and imminent. It concludes that the plaintiffs have demonstrated concrete and imminent injury concerning the handgun ban at various locations such as public gatherings, zoos, parks, beaches, recreational facilities, playgrounds, bars and restaurants, entertainment facilities, youth sports events, public libraries, and museums. After considering the three requirements for Article III standing, the court determines that the plaintiffs have met their burden regarding the sensitive place laws they challenge.
In addition, the court finds that the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the handgun ban at casinos as they have provided sufficient evidence to establish this. Similarly, the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the handgun ban at health care facilities but only as it pertains to medical offices and ambulatory care facilities. However, the court rules that the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the handgun ban at certain types of medical facilities due to a lack of evidence regarding their use of these locations. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have met their standing burden to challenge the handgun ban at airports and transportation hubs by providing evidence of their frequent use of these areas. The court also determines that the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the handgun ban on private property and in vehicles since the restrictions are excessively broad, encompassing the majority of New Jersey.
The court engages in a thorough analysis of the cases cited by the state in support of its government-as-proprietor theory, but ultimately determines that they do not bolster the state's argument.
In distinguishing between the government's role as a sovereign entity versus an employer or proprietor, the court acknowledges that the government possesses broader powers when acting in the latter capacities.
However, the court rejects the state's contention that the plaintiffs' public carry right does not extend to government property simply because the state is acting in its proprietary capacity.
The court examines three cases cited by the state in support of its position, but finds that they fail to provide substantial support for the state's stance.
The court delves into the state's assertion that the Second Amendment does not encompass government buildings, but deems the state's position to be exaggerated.
While acknowledging that restrictions on firearms in sensitive locations generally comply with the Second Amendment, the court notes that this does not mean the right is not burdened at all.
The court interprets the Bruen discussion as suggesting that prohibitions on firearms in government buildings are typically lawful, but emphasizes that disputes should be resolved by assessing whether the regulations align with historical precedents.
The court also addresses the plaintiffs' arguments that the Default Rule violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause, but ultimately determines that it does not.
The court engages with the plaintiffs' contention that the Second Amendment does not impose a "locational distinction," asserting that the right to carry for self-defense is relevant regardless of location.
Citing the Supreme Court's analysis of the "textual elements" of the Second Amendment, which defines "the people" as encompassing all Americans and "Arms" as encompassing any bearable instruments, the court concludes that the right to carry for self-defense in public inherently includes entry onto another's property, provided that it is open to the public and entry is lawful.
Differentiating between property that is open to the public and property that is not, the court highlights that the Default Rule does not implicate the Second Amendment in relation to property that is not accessible to the public.
The court explores the concept of implied license, which permits entry onto another's premises based on custom or indications of consent, and argues that the State and its supporters fail to grasp this concept.
Ultimately, the court asserts that the Default Rule is merely an extension of landowners' right to exclude, and contends that it is the state's broad revocation of the public's longstanding limited implied license to enter others' property that violates the Second Amendment.
The court delves into the concept of a "defiant trespasser" and the conditions that must be met for someone to be considered as such.
Asserting that the right to armed self-defense accompanies individuals wherever they lawfully go, the court characterizes the Default Rule as state action that interprets the "sound of silence" as a prohibition on firearms.
The court dismisses the argument put forth by supporters of the state that the court is "constitutionalizing a rebuttable presumption" to carry firearms on another's property, maintaining that the presumption to carry is "rebuttable" solely in the sense that the property owner can revoke consent.
Drawing a distinction from the Breard v. Alexandria case, which the state's supporters cite as precedent, the court notes that the Breard Court applied means-end scrutiny, a framework that the Bruen Court explicitly rejected in the context of the Second Amendment.
Consequently, the court concludes that the Default Rule must be justified by demonstrating its consistency with the nation's historical tradition of regulating firearms.
The court delves into the burden of persuasion shifting to the state to justify its proposed firearms regulation.
Assessing whether the Default Rule is "relevantly similar" to the historical evidence presented by the state, the court ultimately finds that the state's evidence lacks sufficient analogy to justify the Default Rule.
The state argues that New Jersey has a longstanding tradition of prohibiting the carrying of firearms on private property without the explicit consent of the landowner, citing various colonial and Founding-era laws to support its position.
However, the court deems the state's evidence ineffective, as the laws cited are not comparable to the Default Rule, as they primarily pertain to hunting regulations designed to discourage poaching.
The court explores the disparities between the Default Rule and the colonial hunting laws, highlighting that the Default Rule aims to exclude firearms from all private property in New Jersey.
The state puts forth Reconstruction-era evidence from Louisiana, Texas, and Oregon to substantiate its stance.
Nevertheless, the court determines that the Reconstruction-era laws are not comparable to the Default Rule, as they exclusively apply to specific types of property.
The court raises questions regarding whether the Reconstruction-era laws were enacted in response to unique circumstances following the Civil War.
The court then delves into the First Amendment challenge brought forth by the Siegel Plaintiffs, who argue that the Default Rule constitutes a content-based regulation that compels them to endorse the state's preferred policy.
The document delves into a legal case initiated by plaintiffs Ronald Koons et al. against defendants Matthew Platkin (Attorney General of New Jersey), Patrick Callahan (Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police), and intervenors-defendants Nicholas Scutari (President of the New Jersey Senate) and Craig Coughlin (Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly).
The plaintiffs are challenging state legislation that restricts the possession of firearms in sensitive locations and vehicles, citing violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
To defend the handgun ban at public gatherings, the State relies on various historical state laws and court decisions, including those from Georgia, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee. However, the document argues that these laws do not sufficiently support the handgun ban imposed by Chapter 131.
Additionally, the lack of consensus among states regarding the carrying of firearms in public, especially in states with zoos, is discussed. The State claims that zoos, which originated in the Reconstruction era and were located in public parks, have historically banned firearms. However, the document argues that the State's attempt to equate zoos with schools stretches the sensitive places doctrine too far. It concludes that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their challenge to the handgun ban at zoos.
Furthermore, the document explores the plaintiffs' challenge to state legislation that restricts the possession of firearms in parks, beaches, recreational facilities, and state parks. While the court has temporarily enjoined the State from enforcing the prohibition on firearms at certain locations, such as parks and recreational facilities, it declined to do so for handguns at playgrounds. The document highlights the State's lack of historical support for firearm regulations at beaches and recreational areas and argues against equating libraries and museums to sensitive places. It also challenges the State's policy argument regarding the dangers of mixing firearms with alcohol. The court finds that the State has not shown sufficient historical support for the handgun ban at bars and restaurants serving alcohol.
Regarding the Second Amendment challenge to the Gun Law's provision, the court argues against stretching the statute's catch-all language to include entertainment facilities. It concludes that the State's arguments for banning firearms at entertainment facilities are insufficient and that the plaintiffs have a reasonable chance of success. The court also finds that the State has not demonstrated a historical tradition to justify the handgun ban at casinos.
In addition, the court addresses the plaintiffs' challenge to the handgun ban at transportation hubs and health care facilities. It grants temporary relief to the plaintiffs, allowing them to check firearms as luggage in accordance with TSA regulations. The court discusses the potential constitutional problems with the handgun ban at transportation hubs and finds that the State's reliance on historical laws supporting the ban at entertainment facilities is inadequate. It plans to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine the level of security provided at transportation hubs. The court concludes that the State's argument that the Founders could not have anticipated today's medical facilities is unconvincing and notes that historical firearm laws did not prohibit firearms at health care facilities.
Lastly, the court discusses the plaintiffs' challenge to the handgun ban at public film sets and the prohibition on functional firearms in vehicles. It finds that the plaintiffs have standing to challenge both bans and that the State has failed to provide sufficient historical analogues to support them. The court concludes that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their Second Amendment challenges to both bans.
The court proceeds to address the State's argument regarding the storage of gunpowder in vehicles as a justification for the ban on functional firearms in vehicles under Chapter 131. However, the court dismisses this argument, pointing out that regulations on gunpowder storage cannot easily be applied to firearm regulations. Furthermore, the court rejects the State's argument that the Founders did not have a reason to be concerned about regulating firearms in motor vehicles due to their nonexistence at the time. The court highlights that the State has not presented any well-established firearm laws banning firearms on other modes of transportation.
Additionally, the court discusses the State's reliance on 19th-century laws that criminalized concealed carrying of firearms. However, the court refutes this argument by noting that states that historically banned concealed carry did not prohibit open carry. The court also addresses the State's reliance on two state laws supporting the ban on functional firearms in vehicles, but finds that these two laws are insufficient to establish a historical tradition of states regulating firearms in vehicles.
Moving on, the court delves into the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge to Chapter 131's exemptions for judges, prosecutors, and attorneys general. The court notes that these exemptions allow these individuals to carry handguns in all sensitive places, exempt them from the permit process, and even permit them to carry assault firearms or machine guns.
Furthermore, the court discusses the Siegel Plaintiffs' equal protection challenge to the exemption for judges, prosecutors, and attorneys general. It concludes that the Siegel Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that they are similarly situated to these individuals, resulting in the failure of their equal protection claim.
The court also addresses the Siegel Plaintiffs' void-for-vagueness challenges to Chapter 131's new crime of an "unjustified display of a handgun" and other provisions of the law. While the court declines to consider the Siegel Plaintiffs' other void-for-vagueness challenges, it does address their challenge to the crime of an unjustified display of a handgun. The court finds that the State has provided a reasonable definition of "unjustified display" and determines that the law does not invite arbitrary enforcement.
Moreover, the court evaluates the Siegel Plaintiffs' Second Amendment challenge to New Jersey's Fish and Game Restrictions. It examines whether the Siegel Plaintiffs' proposed conduct falls within the text of the Second Amendment. Notably, the court mentions that the Second Amendment's text does not explicitly address hunting, and some courts have even held that it does not confer a right to hunt. However, the court concludes that, apart from the Fish and Game Functional Firearm in Vehicle Ban, the other Fish and Game Restrictions likely do not infringe on Plaintiff Siegel's Second Amendment right to bear arms. The court also rejects the Siegel Plaintiffs' void-for-vagueness challenge to the crime of an unjustified display of a handgun under Chapter 131.
The document revolves around a case brought by plaintiffs Ronald Koons et al. against defendants Matthew Platkin (Attorney General of New Jersey), Patrick Callahan (Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police), and intervenors-defendants Nicholas Scutari (President of the New Jersey Senate) and Craig Coughlin (Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly). The plaintiffs challenge state legislation that restricts the possession of firearms in sensitive locations and vehicles under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the court discusses the Fish and Game Restrictions, which only place limitations on the types of weapons and ammunition that hunters may use. The court finds that these restrictions do not completely deprive Plaintiff Siegel of his ability to defend himself with a firearm. Although the court expresses doubts about whether Plaintiff Siegel's proposed conduct falls within the text of the Second Amendment, it will consider whether historical firearm laws support the Fish and Game Restrictions. Ultimately, the court determines that the State has established a historical tradition of comparable laws to sustain the Fish and Game Restrictions. The court denies the Siegel Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction concerning specific sections of N.J. Admin. Code § 7:25-5.23 but deems the Fish and Game Functional Firearm in Vehicle Ban unconstitutional as it does not pertain to hunting and infringes on a Carry Permit holder's right to armed self-defense while in a vehicle. Furthermore, the court acknowledges that the plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of suffering irreparable harm if their motions for preliminary injunctive relief are not granted, as Chapter 131 forces them to choose between the noncompensable loss of their Second Amendment rights or significant criminal penalties.
The court emphasizes the importance of firearms for purposes other than self-defense, such as hunting or target shooting. It determines that the four PI (preliminary injunction) factors weigh in favor of granting relief to the plaintiffs, as the public interest favors enjoining the law.
The court examines the various exceptions to the requirement of a Carry Permit, including those for law enforcement officers. It also provides an overview of the fees associated with applying for a Carry Permit, which vary depending on the location where the application is submitted. The court delves into the disqualifications for obtaining a Carry Permit, which include being on a Terrorist Watchlist. In addition, the court addresses the question of whether the Siegel Plaintiffs would be subject to the new permit process and ultimately concludes that they would be. The court determines that the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. lacks standing to challenge Chapter 131's permit process. Furthermore, the court analyzes the ripeness of the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge to the Insurance Mandate and ultimately finds that it is ready for review. The court engages in a discussion about the differences between historical surety bond requirements and the Insurance Mandate. It rejects the State's reliance on cases that uphold insurance requirements in the context of the First Amendment and state compulsory auto insurance laws. The court then proceeds to discuss the Siegel Plaintiffs' challenge to the provision regarding "sensitive places" and concludes that it is not moot. It also evaluates the State's argument that zoos should be included as "sensitive places" and determines that the State has failed to present sufficient evidence to support this claim.
The court tackles the State's argument that the "no-carry" default rule is constitutional because the government is acting as a "market participant" rather than in its traditional sovereign/regulatory capacity. However, the court rejects this argument, finding that the State's theories lack any relevant difference. The court engages in an analysis of the academic debate surrounding the "no-carry" default rule, with some scholars arguing for its constitutionality and others arguing against it. It notes that the State and their amici misdirect the Court's attention by framing the Plaintiffs' argument unfairly. The court also discusses the State's argument that default rules are not new, but concludes that the Default Rule differs from other default rules because it subjects a licensed carrier to criminal penalties.
In addition, the court discusses the State's argument that the "improved or inclosed" language in early colonial laws does not refer to fenced-in property, but rather to the way in which a landowner would have given notice of his possession or ownership of a parcel of land. However, the Koons Plaintiffs argue that the language does refer to fenced-in lands, citing State v. Hopping. While the court does not adopt one reading, it finds that the laws cited include other language suggesting that they were more limited than the State would have the court believe. The Koons Plaintiffs argue that the hunting laws are not relevantly similar to the Default Rule because they focus on "long guns" rather than "handguns." However, the State argues that "gun" is a generic term for all firearms, including pistols. The court rejects the Koons Plaintiffs' argument. It finds that the evidence from the Reconstruction era is insufficient to establish a representative tradition. Additionally, the court discusses the First Amendment implications of the Default Rule and determines that it does not regulate speech. It also examines various state laws that criminalized the carrying of arms in churches or other public assemblies.
Moving forward, the court discusses various historical firearm laws from different states. It advises caution when considering the weight given to the Texas Constitution of 1869 and the English decision, as they emerged from the military occupation of Texas following the Civil War. The court explores various historical laws related to the role of sheriffs and constables in elections as well as in court proceedings. It also delves into the history of various zoos in the United States. The court rejects the State's argument that historical anti-poaching laws support Chapter 131's restriction for zoos. It further examines various historical laws related to the regulation of firearms in public parks.
Moreover, the court discusses various historical laws related to the regulation of firearms in public parks, including ordinances from Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, and Alabama. It mentions that by 1890, the combined populations of these states and cities accounted for approximately 5.7 million inhabitants. The court decides not to address the Siegel Plaintiffs’ First Amendment challenge to Chapter 131's handgun ban at public libraries. It clarifies that private restaurant or bar owners are permitted to ban firearms at their establishments. The court also touches on the issue of defining "transportation hub" in Chapter 131, noting that the State struggled to provide answers during oral argument. It restricts its ruling on the handgun ban to the health care facilities stated in the Plaintiffs' declarations.
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