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Pennacchio to Governor: ‘Honor U.S. Constitution and Second Amendment Rights’

Urges Reinstatement of Background Checks and Allowing Licensed Gun Dealers to Open for Business

Senator Joe Pennacchio today called on Governor Murphy to respect the Constitution of the United States and classify firearms retailers as “essential” so they can reopen for business during the coronavirus emergency.



In a letter to the Governor, Sen. Joe Pennacchio urged the reinstatement of the NICS system used to vet buyers by licensed firearms dealers and allow those dealers to open for business. (Government Research Archives)


“Now is not the time to make decisions based on political ideology and violate the Second Amendment rights of citizens,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The governor should reconsider his order closing gun shops that effectively bans the sale of guns. There is too much at stake during this pandemic to trample on the rights of people who are justifiably worried about the health and safety of their families.”


In a letter to the Governor, Pennacchio also urged the reinstatement of access to the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system used to vet buyers by licensed firearms dealers.


“Shutting down access to NICS and preventing the lawful sale and purchase of firearms, based on an ‘opinion’ as to what is ‘essential’ during the current public health crisis, not only violates the Constitution, but shows a disturbing lack of regard for the rights and well-being of the people of this State,” Pennacchio wrote to the Governor. Firearms retailers in the New Jersey were forced to shut down when Murphy signed Executive Order No. 107 on March 21, ordering the closure of all non-essential retail businesses.


A specific list of exceptions to the order allowed some “essential” retail business to continue operating, including grocery stores, pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries, gas stations, and liquor stores.


Additional businesses, including cell phone stores, bike repair shops and garden centers were added to the list of “essential” businesses this week.


“Now, more than ever, we must demonstrate to those who elected us that we are here to serve them and not to strip their constitutional rights away. To that end, I call on you now to recognize that our constitutional rights must not be compromised or qualified for any reason and allow NICS checks to continue and firearms retailers to reopen their stores,” concluded Pennacchio in his letter.


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