NEW JERSEY – Mandatory safety training for gun owners. A ban on .50 caliber or larger weapons. Creation of standards for school marksmanship exercises. And an effort to “hold the gun industry to account.” These are some of the changes that will take place in New Jersey if a set of state-proposed laws are passed.
Gov. Phil Murphy recently urged state lawmakers to take action in the coming weeks on a comprehensive gun safety legislative package, which he originally proposed in April.
The proposed laws have been rejected by gun rights advocates, who say the bills put the Second Amendment in the crosshairs but “do nothing to severely punish gun criminals.” (Read more below)
If passed by the legislature and enacted, the bills would be the third gun safety program adopted by the governor since taking office in 2018.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, here is what the bills would do:
- “Require gun safety training” – S-2169 / A-5030 (Weinberg / Reynolds-Jackson) would modernize gun ID cards and require completion of a gun safety course to receive a license to purchase a firearm or receive a firearm ID card.
- “Regulate shooting exercises at school” – Schools in New Jersey are currently required to conduct active marksmanship drills, but guidelines are not specific on how these drills are to be conducted. The governor is proposing to allow the Department of Education to establish age-appropriate, trauma-informed standards for lockout exercises.
- “Hold the gun industry accountable” – In New Jersey, nearly 80 percent of guns used in crimes are originally purchased out of state. However, the gun industry has taken no action to stem the flow of guns to the illegal market through gun shows, flea markets, straw buyers, and theft. The Governor proposes to amend the state’s public nuisance laws to prohibit the firearms industry from endangering the safety or health of the public through the sale, manufacture, import or marketing of weapons.
- “Prohibition of .50 caliber firearms” – S-103 / A-1280 (Gill / Greenwald) would revise the definition of “destructive device” under New Jersey law to include weapons of .50 caliber or larger.
- “Close the loophole for importing firearms out of state” – A-3686 / S-372 (Vainieri Huttle / Cryan) would require gun owners moving to New Jersey to obtain a Firearms Buyer Identification Card (FPIC) and register their guns at fire within 30 days of their residence in that state.
- “Establish electronic record keeping of ammunition sales” – A-1292 / S-1481 (Greenwald / Weinberg) would require manufacturers or dealers of handgun ammunition to keep a detailed electronic record of ammunition sales and to report ammunition sales to the local police. ‘State of NJ.
- “Promote micro-stamping technology” – S-3826 / A-5787 (Weinberg / Downey) would require gun manufacturers within a year to incorporate micro-stamping technology into new handguns sold in New Jersey, providing forces of the l order a tool to quickly connect gun cartridge cases found at a crime scene to a specific gun, without having to retrieve the gun itself.
- “Mandate the safe storage of firearms” – Gun owners would be required to store their guns in a safe or vault.
“Over the past four years, New Jersey has emerged as a national leader in gun safety,” Murphy said at a Dec. 2 press conference to announce the bills.
“We must continue to build on these advances and make our state safer for the more than nine million people who live in New Jersey,” continued Murphy. “Today, I am proud to be more committed to this goal, and I look forward to working with my legislative partners to take this step by the end of this legislative session.”
The governor thanked Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for his “commitment to release the package during the current legislative session.”
Supporters of the proposed bill included:
Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck – “The legislation the governor discussed today will strengthen our work to help communities statewide support victims of crime, while reducing the deadly cycle of gun violence.”
Majority leader in the Assembly Louis Greenwald – “This legislative package would fill damaging gaps, limit large caliber weapons, ensure the proper handling and storage of firearms, and give law enforcement the tools they need to tackle gun violence.” Each of these common sense steps are important steps we can and must take to promote gun safety in our communities.
Jenifer Berrier Gonzalez, volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action – “The gun violence crisis in New Jersey requires meaningful legislative action that both prioritizes the safety of New Jersey communities and reaffirms our state’s status as the leader of the gun safety movement. fire. We thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to signing this historic gun safety package. , and we urge lawmakers to work together to achieve this important milestone before the end of this legislative session. “
Aqeela Sherrills, Director of the Newark Community Street Team – “About six months ago, the governor brought together community public safety activists from across the state and engaged us in a conversation about developing complementary strategies with law enforcement to reduce violence and crime in cities. He committed $ 10 million, an unprecedented investment. the governor’s leadership that makes our communities and our state secure. “
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However, the proposed laws have also come under heavy criticism from gun rights advocates.
According to the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), the proposals target Second Amendment rights, but “do nothing to severely punish armed criminals.”
“It’s not pretty,” the group wrote in a blog, listing their objections to the proposed laws. They included:
.50 caliber ban – “The language seems deliberately misleading… Other key provisions: one year for current owners of 50 calibers to pay a $ 50 registration fee; no inheritance by heirs is allowed; and the civil liability of registered owners if their firearms are misused.
Firearms Buyer Identity Cards – “Gun owners will have to pay the fees, take their fingerprints and go through the entire application process every 4 years. The system is already overloaded and extremely inefficient. Every four years everyone has to go get a new FPIC. the bureaucracy handles this (the current process can take 6 months to 2 years!)? This bill also includes language that will turn widows into criminals if they do not relinquish possession of their deceased spouse’s guns within 30 days and do not have the credentials themselves. of the NJ required to own firearms.
Micro-stamping handguns – “This is essentially a semi-automatic handgun ban because the technology is not used by any manufacturer.”
The New Jersey Second Amendment Society – which considered the governor’s latest proposals when it first announced them in April – called the latest bill “gun control 3.0.”