The governor of New Jersey warned that "folks need to be jolted," so his attorney general is threatening jail for people who leave their homes in violation of the governer's order Monday.
Gurbir Grewal, the state's attorney general, said those who violate the stay-at-home order could be jailed or fined up to $1,000, NewJersey.com reported.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed executive orders that ban unapproved social gatherings and close all "non-essential" businesses.
All retail "storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises" are shuttered, and "all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public." People are allowed to leave home only to seek medical care or to get food or gasoline.
Grewal warned that police will monitor for people who have events in their homes and invite too many people.
"Law enforcement officers will have to break that party up, and there will be criminal consequences," Grewal said. "The time for warnings is over. And the time to ensure compliance by using all of the tools available to us is here."
Offenders could face a number of charges, including disorderly conduct.
A disorderly conduct offense is punishable by a prison term of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000 or both, Grewal’s office has said, according to NewJersey.com.
"Folks need to be jolted," Murphy said. "All residents are to stay inside if you do not need to be out."
Murphy and State Police Supt. Patrick Callahan were sued Monday for essentially suspending the Second Amendment in their state.
The case was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society on behalf of Robert Kashinsky and Legend Firearms, a gun shop in the state.
"Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment, and neither can Supt. Callahan," said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. "Yet, under this emergency order, that's exactly what they're doing. The Constitution, and federal law, don't allow that. New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they're the last state to recognize it."
The case developed when Kashinsky sought to purchase a firearm for personal protection during the current Chinese coronavirus crisis.
However, Murphy issued Executive Order 107 on March 21 that ordered all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public. The order does not include licensed firearms dealers on its list of "essential" businesses that may continue operating during the crisis.
That means the Second Amendment was violated, the case contends.
"In order for New Jersey residents to purchase firearms," explained Gottlieb, "they must go through a licensed firearms retailer and pass a background check. However, Murphy's order was subsequently followed by a notice posted on the state police website that the agency is no longer conducting background checks."
The action, in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, seeks a restraining order that the governor's order cannot be enforced "to the extent it operates to flatly prohibit the purchase and sale of firearms and ammunition."
There was a good reason why our American ancestors failed to include an emergency exception in the Bill of Rights. It was because they knew that throughout history emergencies have been the time-honored way by which people lose their liberty.