Concealed firearms are not welcome in Atlantic City casinos, despite a federal judge temporarily blocking new New Jersey laws designed to keep them out of gaming venues and other public spaces. That’s the latest Mark Giannantonio, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ).
Recent court rulings have created uncertainty around New Jersey’s concealed carry laws. But Atlantic City casinos unanimously made their feelings clear Monday. (Image: KSLA)
Giannantonio told Casino.org in a statement Monday that “all of the casinos are exercising their rights, as private property owners, to prohibit the carrying of firearms on their premises.”
“The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is a top priority for the Atlantic City casino industry,” he added.
Guns have long been banned at Atlantic City casinos under the Casino Control Act without the written permission of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Even law enforcement officers are only permitted to enter casinos “in an emergency situation,” according to the regulations.
But a ruling last summer by the US Supreme Court [New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen] determined that New York State’s law requiring a license to carry concealed weapons in public places was unconstitutional. This also invalidated similar laws in New Jersey and several other states.
These states argued that the Bruen ruling was limited in scope and still allowed them to regulate certain types of firearms and where guns can be carried, which included “sensitive places.” Some states have since scrambled together new gun laws which they hope will survive judicial scrutiny.
In December, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed sweeping legislation designed to limit where you can carry a concealed handgun. As well as casinos, this included public libraries, museums, bars, and restaurants, and on private property without the owner’s permission.
The gun lobby swiftly sued Gov. Murphy, arguing the new laws infringed on their Second Amendment rights.
In January, US District Judge Renee Bumb issued a temporary restraining order on aspects of the law that banned the carrying of guns in public libraries, museums, bars, and restaurants, and on private property without the owner’s permission.
Three weeks later, addressing another lawsuit, she blocked sections that prohibited guns in casinos and on beaches. These were not final rulings in the cases, but they prevent the bans from being enforced, pending the resolution of the lawsuits.
In the meantime, the Murphy administration is doubling down that the state’s new gun laws are constitutional, and that Bumb’s rulings were wrongly decided.
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