New Jersey set to enact ‘toughest’ gun law in nation after Supreme Court ruling
Governor Phil Murphy has pledged to sign the measure, which comes in response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year that effectively expanded the scope of who can carry guns in public. Thursday’s proposal largely mirrors what Murphy, a progressive Democrat, previously proposed in response to the Supreme Court’s decision.
« The governor’s goal was to ensure that residents and visitors to our state could feel confident about their safety in sensitive locations such as child care centers, hospitals, stadiums and public transportation, » the governor said. Murphy’s spokeswoman, Alyana Alfaro-Post, in a statement. « The administration has worked closely with the Legislative Assembly to draft legislation over the past few months, and the Governor looks forward to signing this bill into law once it passes through the legislative process. »
The bill, the outline of which has been first reported by POLITICO Wednesday is now on the legislative fast track. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said it would be heard in committee on Monday and voted on in the lower house on Oct. 27, although Scutari said « I can’t say the same for » the Senate. He did not specify.
Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-Somerset) will be the Assembly’s main sponsor; Scutari will be one of the main sponsors of the Senate.
« I’m a gun owner, I often enjoy my guns, » Danielsen said at Thursday’s press conference. “But I appreciate the right to have these weapons and to use them responsibly. This bill does not provide for any conflict.
The proposal comes as new gun laws that New York recently enacted in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling face ongoing litigation. A federal judge recently struck down key parts of the New York law, but a federal appeals court on Wednesday allowed him to stay in place for the moment.
Coughlin said the proposal unveiled Thursday would be « stricter » than New York law, and in a press release lawmakers said they anticipate a legal challenge if the bill becomes law.
« We’re doing this because we know gun safety doesn’t conflict with safe gun ownership, » Coughlin said at the press conference. “While I respect the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, frankly on this one, they got it wrong. Bringing more guns into the public sphere makes us all less safe.
A legal challenge could come from the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, which has previously challenged New Jersey’s gun laws, if the proposal becomes law.
« These attacks by New Jersey lawmakers on the right to wear are a big middle finger to the Supreme Court of the United States, » Scott Bach, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. « We look forward to reversing these measures in court and forcing the state to pay our legal costs. »
The conservative majority on the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in June in favor of gun owners who want to carry guns outside their homes. The decision overturned gun laws in New Jersey, New York, California, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii. In New Jersey, which already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, the state’s “justifiable need” requirement for gun licenses — which has effectively prevented the most residents to be eligible for a port permit – was overturned by the court’s decision.
The proposal is likely to impact a large swath of New Jerseyans; Coughlin said about 300,000 carry permit applications have been filed in New Jersey following the Supreme Court ruling.
In addition to the insurance mandate, the new bill would require future gun carriers to complete rigorous training requirements, including online courses, in-person classes and targeted training, according to a draft law. law shared with POLITICO. People who carry firearms would also be prohibited from using, consuming or being under the influence of alcohol, cannabis or other controlled substances. Violating this would be a fourth degree felony and could result in loss of license. The transport permit application fee would also increase from $2 to $200.
The insurance mandate would be the first statewide requirement in the country, although in January San Jose, California will soon begin requiring all gun owners to carry liability insurance .
In New Jersey, legislative Republicans, who generally oppose adding gun control measures to tough state laws, pushed back against the proposal.
« This is another case of law-abiding citizens being targeted by Democrats, » Republican House Leader John DiMaio (R-Warren) said in a statement. « Criminals don’t obey the laws now and they won’t obey them either. »
State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Gloucester), who said difficulties obtaining a concealed carry permit motivated him to run for office, said in a statement Thursday that Democrats were trying to « override the Constitution and the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States ».
« We have the strongest gun laws in the nation, and this is yet another clear example of the Democrats’ open hostility to the Second Amendment and the Constitution as a whole, » Durr said. « Protecting public safety also includes protecting the individual’s right to self-defense, but Democrats are taking every opportunity to prevent people from protecting themselves. … Criminals are the problem, not law-abiding citizens who have rights.