New Jersey Newspaper Tells Wyoming To Butt Out

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — New Jersey’s biggest newspaper has a message for the least populated state in the nation: butt out.

The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark published an editorial on Tuesday telling Wyoming to mind its own business.

The editorial came after Wyoming last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court for permission to submit a brief on behalf of itself and 18 other states supporting a New Jersey man who is challenging that state’s concealed weapons law.

John M. Drake is challenging a provision in New Jersey law that says people seeking concealed carry permits must prove that they have a justifiable need. Wyoming and other states are concerned that if the law survives federal review, the court ruling could threaten their less-restrictive concealed carry laws.

The Star-Ledger reported last week that Drake, of Fredon, N.J., is a business owner who owns and services ATMs. He told the paper he sometimes carries large amounts of cash.

Tuesday’s editorial in The Star-Ledger said that a strong majority of people in New Jersey supports strong gun laws and that others in the state have lost similar court challenges to the state’s concealed carry law.

“Most New Jerseyans don’t want to have to worry that the guy they’re fighting with over a parking spot might be packing heat,” the editorial stated. “That’s why you need to show justifiable need to carry a handgun here.”

The editorial goes on to question whether people in Wyoming and other states want New Jersey meddling in their gun laws. It stated that states with lax gun laws “actually do threaten our citizens by making it easier for dangerous people to acquire guns and bring them back East.”

The editorial stated Wyoming is among the top states in rates of gun deaths per capita and supplying guns that are used in crimes in other states. “So the problem isn’t our laws. It’s yours,” it stated.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead issued a statement last week announcing his administration’s move to get involved in the challenge to the New Jersey law.

“This decision out of New Jersey impacts the right to keep and bear arms outside of the home,” said Mead. “So, I felt it was necessary to have the attorney general support a petition to the Supreme Court to hear this case.

“If the current decision stands, states providing greater protections than New Jersey under the Second Amendment may be pre-empted by future federal action,” said Mead.

Wyoming is one of the most pro-gun states. It allows citizens to carry concealed handguns without a permit, doesn’t prohibit private ownership of machine guns, and Mead last year signed a law allowing hunters to take game animals with firearms equipped with silencers.

Asked if Mead had any response to the editorial, Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said Tuesday that all states have a keen interest in the protection of constitutional rights.

“Wyoming and other states with greater protections than New Jersey have an interest in how the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately frame an individual’s right to bear arms outside of the home, the central issue in this matter,” MacKay said.

“This case and its reasoning have serious implications if the federal government and/or other courts use this opinion to restrict an individual’s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment,” MacKay said.

The other states joining with Wyoming in the effort are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

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