Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramsey Tables Vote on Gun Law

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramsey Tables Vote on Gun Law

Article excerpt

RAMSEY - Bracing for potential litigation, the Borough Council postponed voting this week on an ordinance that would prohibit weapons from being fired in gun ranges until it hires a legal defense.

More than 100 people packed into the council chambers Wednesday night, when the council had been expected to vote on the proposed law change, which could affect a 60,000-square-foot indoor firing range that a Pennsylvania developer wants to open in Ramsey.

But the council instead opted to hold off on voting in light of a recent letter sent by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, which said it would file a complaint if the ordinance passed.

Mayor Deirdre Dillon said the letter threatened "costly and protracted litigation."

The borough is expected to take up the ordinance again on Feb. 22.

Before that vote, Dillon said, the borough will retain a national law firm on a pro bono basis. She did not say what firm the borough plans to retain.

"The mayor and council will do what we believe is the best interests of the borough and its residents," Dillon said.

Second Amendment Society President Alexander Roubian, a Ramsey High School graduate, said his organization "has a very strong case," citing a recent U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision out of Chicago that ruled gun ranges are protected under the Second Amendment.

Comparing that case to the current controversy in Ramsey, Roubian said, "The same level of arrogance is here tonight."

Dillon said the borough will "take its chances" in court.

A Pennsylvania developer has proposed renovating the former Liberty Travel building on Spring Street into a full-service firing range -- dubbed the Screaming Eagle Club -- complete with 67 firing stalls, a space for retail sales and a restaurant.

A week after the Planning Board began hearing the developer's application, the council sought to change a 1961 borough ordinance that prohibits the firing of "any pistol, shotgun, rifle or other type of firearms anywhere in the borough. …

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