New Jersey governor signs sweeping gun restrictions amid some legal challenges

The new law will face a looming challenge in federal court from gun rights groups seeking to strike it down.

“Not only will this legislation go down in flames in our lawsuit, but the Murphy administration will end up paying the very significant legal costs of gun owners to bring it down,” said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol. Clubs, said in a statement.

New Jersey has earned a reputation for having some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. vs. Bruenstate residents hoping to carry a firearm outside their home had to demonstrate “justifiable need” — a standard that essentially disqualified most applicants.

The Supreme Court’s summer ruling struck down that standard, upending carry gun laws in New Jersey and other blue states. New York, which had its similar restrictive gun carrying rules overturned by the ruling, passed a strict gun carrying law over the summer that restricted where guns can be carried. . The measure is also the subject of a legal challenge.

Murphy acknowledged the possibility of a legal challenge, but said the state was prepared to defend the law.

“We know that the gun lobby and its cronies are already preparing to take us to court to block these common sense measures,” the governor said. “The Attorney General and his team are fully prepared to forcefully defend the constitutionality of this bill. … Even if part of the law is successfully challenged, the rest will remain intact and enforceable.

Attorney General Matt Platkin called it a « fully constitutional bill » when signing the bill.

The new law provides for 25 major “sensitive places” where carrying weapons would be illegal, such as government buildings, public transport and day care centres. It extends to any private property whose owner does not authorize the carrying of weapons. Violations would be a third degree felony.

The signing of the bill took place in a library, one of the places where firearms are prohibited under the new law.

The law also reinforces the conditions for obtaining a transport permit. This requires rigorous training requirements for concealed carry candidates with targeted training as well as online and in-person classroom instruction. A handgun license application will increase from $2 to $25.

People who want to carry firearms must also purchase liability insurance. San Jose, California, has a similar mandate to come into force in January, although there is no similar statewide mandate in the country.

The legislation was put on the fast track in October and has been announced with the support of Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate Speaker Nick Scutari. Murphy, a progressive Democrat, has long favored tightening the state’s tough gun laws. New Jersey has the third-lowest gun death rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.

Republicans and gun advocacy groups have uniformly opposed the measure, saying it oversteps the constitutional limits of what the U.S. Supreme Court allows. Not a single Republican voted to support the bill in the state legislature.

“It is unfortunate that the Democratic majority is not working with Republicans to ensure that the concealed carry of firearms can be handled in a safe, reasonable, and constitutional manner,” Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) said in a statement. communicated. « …It’s an excessive attempt by Democrats to see how far they can go to reverse the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision while imposing even greater restrictions on law-abiding gun owners than ever before. . »

The bill passed in the Assembly 43-29-1 and in the Senate 21-16 after contentious debate.

Only one Democrat, incumbent Sen. Nick Sacco (D-Hudson), voted against the measure, saying it was unconstitutional.


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