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PZ v NJ - Permanent denial for temporary seizure


Euler
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Docket

Petition for certiorari said:

...

The Questions Presented are:

  1. What is the scrutiny level afforded the Second Amendment right to possess firearms in the home?
  2. Does a state's denial of a person's Second Amendment rights "in the interest of public health, safety or welfare" constitute:
    1. an unconstitutionally overbroad or vague standard, and/or
    2. an unlawful balancing test in offense to Heller, and/or
    3. a wrongful denial of Due Process notice?
  3. May government deny a person's Second Amendment rights in perpetuity merely because a firearm was seized from him "for safekeeping" and not returned?
  4. Is a warrant issued to search and seize firearms from a home "for safekeeping" valid probable cause under the Fourth Amendment?

...

In the case at hand, New Jersey seized petitioner's firearms "for safekeeping" pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. ... Although the temporary restraining order that contained the warrant was dismissed, New Jersey refused to return said firearms "in the interest of public health, safety or welfare." ... Because petitioner's firearms were seized and not returned to him, New Jersey forever bars him from again possessing firearms. ... This is how New Jersey's firearm permit/forfeiture scheme systematically deprives people of their right to possess firearms in their homes.

...

 

I don't see Question 1 as deriving from this case, since scrutiny wasn't cited in any of the previous judgments. The questions should probably be posed in the order (4, 2, 3, 1) to make a bit more sense. A question about scrutiny might make sense in light of the others.

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The scrutiny argument was raised in the NJ Superior Court (though rather thoroughly dismissed):

 

Quote

From Appendix Page 26:

Defendant argues that it is a violation of his Second Amendment rights to bar him from further firearm possession. He argues that the statute’s use of “public safety” is not narrowly tailored, nor limited in time, and therefore is unconstitutionally broad and vague. Defendant failed to raise this argument below, and therefore we decline to address it. See Nieder, 62 N.J. at 234. However, we add the following brief comments.

The Supreme Court recently addressed this argument and summarily rejected it. F.M., 225 N.J. at 507- 08 (noting that N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5) and (c)(8) have been upheld against Second Amendment challenges); see In re Dubov, 410 N.J. Super. 190, 197 (App. Div. 2009) (expressly finding that N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5) is not unconstitutionally vague); see also Crespo v. Crespo, 201 N.J. 207, 210 (2010) (holding PDVA constitutional because “the right to possess firearms clearly may be subject to reasonable limitations”); In re Winston, 438 N.J. Super. 1, 10 (2014) (holding that District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), do not render N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5) unconstitutional).

 

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