RAMSEY, N.J. – Amidst threat of a lawsuit from the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, the Ramsey Borough Council Wednesday held off on adopting an ordinance that would prohibit firearms from being discharged at shooting ranges within the borough.
The council voted to table the ordinance until the next council meeting on Feb. 22.
“We are in the process of obtaining a national law firm to represent the borough pro-bono in the event of litigation since the New Jersey Second Amendment Society has threatened the borough with costly and protracted litigation if we move forward with the amendment,” Ramsey Mayor Deirdre Dillon told a packed meeting room.
The borough attorney advised the mayor and council to table to the ordinance until that law firm is retained, Dillon said.
The ordinance at issue, introduced last month, revises one currently on the books that prohibits the firing of “any pistol, shotgun, rifle or other type of firearms anywhere in the borough,” but exempts indoor and outdoor firing ranges.
The revisions to ban the use of firearms at shooting ranges as well were introduced after the borough received an application to create a 60,000-square-foot indoor firing range at the former Liberty Travel building on Spring Street. An application for the facility – dubbed the Screaming Eagle Club – is pending with the Ramsey Planning Board.
New Jersey Second Amendment Society President Alexander Roubian sent a letter to the mayor and council on Feb. 1, stating: “Our legal team is currently preparing the necessary Complaint to file with the N.J. District Court in the event the Ordinance is passed; however we ask that the proposed ordinance be pulled from the agenda so we can work together on an amicable solution without the need for costly litigation.”
Roubian, a graduate of Ramsey High School, addressed the mayor and council in person Wednesday. “We are very confident that we have a very, very good case here,” he said, warning “prevailing parties will be recovering their legal fees.”
“It is a chance we are willing to take,” Dillon responded.
A string of additional speakers took to the mic to voice their concerns about both safety and Second Amendment issues.
“We like the town the way it is, a bucolic beautiful town that is safe for our children,” said Ramsey resident Ellen O’Keefe.
Andrew Stravitz, of Allendale, pointed out that the Waldwick Pistol & Rifle Club has been a few miles away from Ramsey for about 50 years. “In 50 years, zero injuries in the shooting range over there,” he said.
Barbara Puccia, of Ramsey, said “It only takes one, and one person only, that has bad intentions that can cause a tragedy in this town.”