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Press Release
May 20, 2003
Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc: 


In a significant victory for the First Amendment, a lawsuit against the Montclair, N.J. Board of Education (School Board) brought by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) was resolved in a court-ordered settlement. The School Board acknowledged that it violated its own policies by distributing a flyer supporting anti-Second Amendment legislation, while refusing to distribute a flyer opposing the legislation. 

The case began in June 2000, when the School Board distributed a flyer sent home in the backpacks of every student announcing a rally sponsored by Ceasefire NJ, urging that the State Assembly pass the then-pending “Smart Gun” bill.  When Moms for Gun Safety (MGS), an ANJRPC affiliate, sought to have a similar flyer sent home for a rally opposing the legislation, the request was denied.  MGS and the ANJRPC sued the School Board for violation of their right to free speech (First Amendment) and equal protection under the law (Fourteenth Amendment).

The settlement, a first of its kind in the country, guarantees that the School Board will treat pro-Second Amendment groups on an equal footing with anti-Second Amendment groups. It requires the School Board to distribute three leaflets to make up for past unequal treatment. The leaflets will promote ANJRPC’s 2003 education and training events for youth and women. In addition, the ANJRPC will have access to the school system to conduct events, essay contests, grant scholarships and seek establishment of a student club.  If the School Board amends its policies in the future to bar such activities, they must be applied equally to all organizations.

Scott Bach, ANJRPC Executive Vice President and recently-elected NRA Board Member, who managed the litigation and its retained counsel, said, “This case is really about an attempt to manipulate young minds by presenting only one side of an issue and actively suppressing the other side. This settlement sends a message to every publicly funded school in America: If you try to stifle debate on the Second Amendment, you’re going to be held fully accountable.”

Harry Kresky, ANJRPC lead counsel and First Amendment attorney stated, “The settlement represents a fair resolution, consistent with constitutional norms, of a situation that raises very controversial political issues.  Through aggressive litigation, we’ve caused the School Board to take a long hard look at its policies.”

Mr. Bach, concluded, “We’re gratified by this victory because it guarantees that every viewpoint will be heard – and that’s the essence of our democracy.”

To view a copy of the settlement on the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs website, click: Montclair Settlement.pdf

press coverage from the Montclair School Board case


Bergen Record


Montclair Times

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