New Batch of NJ Gun Laws Passed, Heads to Murphy – But Some Missing
TRENTON – Lawmakers approved much but not all of Gov. Phil Murphy's latest round of gun-control measures Wednesday, with the leverage of budget season and pressure after recent mass shootings finally overcoming months of stalemate.
Seven bills made it Murphy's desk. However, a proposal to reduce the age at which a person becomes eligible to buy long guns such as rifles and shotguns wasn't taken up in the Senate. And an idea added by lawmakers to restrict people from buying body armor similarly didn't pass in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Roy Freiman, D-Somerset, said the bills mark another attempt to make incremental progress in addressing gun violence.
"Everyone I believe in this chamber it's very safe to say is looking for solutions to end gun violence," Freiman said. "And I suspect also we would concur that is a complex problem. There is no one singular solution."
Most Republicans opposed most of the bills. The one that got the most crossover support upgrades the penalties for manufacturing untraceable “ghost guns.” But in general the bills were passed in partisan votes, with some Assembly Republicans vociferous critics of the package.
"Why don't you take a fraction, a fraction of your effort, and go after bad guys and the criminals that are doing the carjackings, that are carrying the guns and leave the damn law-abiding citizens alone and give them a break because they're just trying to protect their family, go hunting and do their target shooting and enjoy themselves?" said Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex. "And you people are just hellbent on going after the good guys rather than the bad guys."
"We gain nothing by punishing law-abiding legal gun owners," said Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, R-Monmouth. "This is more a ploy for our governor's future presidential aspirations than sound legislation."
Here's what was voted on:
S1204/A1179 Requires firearm owners who become New Jersey residents to obtain firearm purchaser identification card and register handguns acquired out-of-State. Passed Senate 23-15. Passed Assembly 51-27.
S1893/A1765 Allows Attorney General to bring cause of action for certain public nuisance violations arising from sale or marketing of firearms. Passed Senate 24-16. Passed Assembly 44-32.
S2846/A4367 Upgrades certain crimes related to manufacturing firearms from third degree to second degree. Passed Senate 32-6. Passed Assembly 64-14.
S2847/A4369 Prohibits possession and requires registration of body armor in certain circumstances. Passed Senate 24-15. Not voted on in Assembly.
S2903/A1302 Regulates sale of handgun ammunition and develops system of electronic reporting of handgun ammunition sales. Passed Senate 25-15. Passed Assembly 47-29-1.
S2905/A4366 Revises definition of destructive device to include certain .50 caliber rifles; makes certain exceptions. Passed Senate 25-14. Passed Assembly 48-30-6.
S2906/A4370 Requires training for issuance of firearms purchaser identification card and permit to purchase handgun under certain circumstances; provide firearms purchaser identification card include photograph and thumb print and remain valid for ten years. Passed Senate 24-16. Passed Assembly 48-28-1.
S2907/A4368 Requires firearm retailers to sell microstamping-enabled firearms upon determination of availability by AG. Passed Senate 24-16. Passed Assembly 45-31-1.
A509/S504 Increases from 18 to 21 age at which person is eligible to receive firearms purchaser identification. Passed Assembly 49-28. Not voted on in Senate.