Gun ban to remain effective inside Atlantic City casinos despite federal judge order, NJ association says

A policy banning people from carrying guns inside Atlantic City’s casinos will prevail despite an order last week from a federal judge who attempted to block the recently enacted rule. The Casino Association of New Jersey announced Monday it will not permit firearms at any of the city’s nine casinos.

Mark Giannantonio, president of the CANJ, issued a statement on behalf of the Atlantic City casino industry: “The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is a top priority for the Atlantic City casino industry.” 

“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,” he added. 

U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden attempted to block the gun ban when responding to a lawsuit brought by seven people and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, which challenged parts of a law signed by Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in December. 

Bumb blocked other parts of the law in a similar lawsuit brought by different plaintiffs weeks prior to this latest move. Those measures included bans on carrying guns in public libraries, museums, bars and restaurants and on private property without the owner’s explicit permission, as well as transporting loaded guns in vehicles. 

Other parts of the law, including measures tightening gun licensing requirements and handgun safety rules, remained in effect. Both lawsuits argue that the state’s new restrictions violate the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The law was passed in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in June that the U.S. Constitution protects individuals’ right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense, striking down a New York law governing gun licenses. 

The high court’s decision left open the possibility for states to restrict guns in “sensitive places” but said any restrictions must be consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of gun regulation. Bumb found that the challenged restrictions in both cases did not fit into that tradition. 

The Garden State has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and the third-lowest rate of firearm deaths. Guns have always been banned at Atlantic City’s casinos under the Casino Control Act, a policy that will remain in place despite last week’s order.