New Jersey firearm enthusiasts recently got some positive news as the state lifted a ban that prohibited the carrying of guns in casinos. However, this doesn’t mean that customers can just waltz in armed, as casinos will still prohibit visitors from carrying weapons.
The State Cannot Enforce a Gun Ban at Casinos
New Jersey is currently a battleground of ideals where pro-gun and anti-gun supporters are each trying to get their way. Recently, however, pro-gun activists had a breakthrough as a judge lifted the ban on guns in casinos, among other places.
Anti-gun lawmakers were trying to propose a new gun bill that would impose certain limits on where firearm owners can carry guns. It sought to prevent firearms at casinos, parks and other public areas.
However, pro-gambling lawmakers quickly deemed the aforementioned restrictions unconstitutional and shot them down. Judge Renée Marie Bumb restrained the bill and prevented the state from banning concealed carry in certain public places. While firearms remain banned at hospitals, airports, zoos, playgrounds and youth sporting events, they are now allowed in vehicles, museums, libraries and other recreational facilities.
As a result, bringing a gun to Atlantic City’s casinos is technically not illegal now. However, in practice, things are not as simple as that.
Private Properties Can Still Ban Firearms
As announced by Mark Giannantonio, the president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, casinos will leverage their right as private property owners to still ban firearms on their premises. In a statement, Giannantonio said that this is all to protect the safety and well-being of the guests.
Considering the Court Order temporarily restraining enforcement of the State law prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms in public places, including casinos, all of the Atlantic City casinos are exercising their rights, as private property owners, to prohibit the carrying of firearms on their premises.
Mark Giannantonio, president, Casino Association of New Jersey
New Jersey Monitor later reported that the Casino Association’s decision has offended the pro-gun community. The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs’ president, Scott Bach, said that not allowing the customers to defend themselves infringes their rights.
If the casinos don’t provide their own armed security, they’d better have good liability insurance.
Scott Bach, president, Association of NJ Rifle & Pistol Clubs
Meanwhile, Atlantic City casino customers and lawmakers continue to debate the future of smoking in casinos. Anti-smoking activists argue that allowing smoking jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of casino workers and customers alike.