Move over Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is showing everyone in the Garden State who is really "the boss" when it comes to gun control. He announced the third major push for additional measures that would restrict firearm ownership since he took office in 2018.
Despite the fact that New Jersey has the second most restrictive gun laws in the country – only after California – Gov. Murphy, a liberal Democrat who faces reelection this fall, has continued to push for even more gun control.
Not shying away from the issue, Murphy said his eight proposed measures would be "perhaps the most sweeping gun violence prevention package in the history of our nation." He made the remarks on Thursday during a press conference at a Newark community center.
"We cannot sit back when we know there is more to do to address the danger of gun violence in our communities," Gov. Murphy declared.
At the press conference, the governor was joined by high-ranking lawmakers from both houses of the state's legislature, and Politico reported that at least some of Murphy's proposals are likely to hit a wall in the New Jersey State Senate. It is also clear it isn't exactly a partisan issue, as Murphy could face pushback from Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who has been reluctant to advance some of the legislation.
Age Requirements and Gun Permits
The measures proposed include only giving firearms permits to residents who successfully pass gun safety classes, as well as raising the purchasing age for long guns including rifles and shotguns from eighteen to twenty-one.
Other proposals would require that all firearms be locked up in homes, the microstamping of ammunition to make it easier to trace, and the creation of an electronic database of all ammunition sold. Murphy has also called for a ban on all .50 caliber firearms and he would require that anyone moving to New Jersey to register their firearms. The governor also called for a bill that would make it easier to sue gun manufacturers if a firearm produced by the respective company were to be used in a crime.
Gov. Murphy has also endorsed spending $10 million more violence intervention groups that work to de-escalate conflicts and to provide $2 million into Rutgers University's gun violence research programs.
Bipartisan Support Unlikely
All of the proposals that Murphy has pushed forward would require support from the legislature to become law. In addition to the pushback from Sweeney, there are at least four Republican state representatives who are openly opposed.
The plan would do little to lower crime or curb violence in communities such as Newark argues gun rights proponents.
"Unfortunately, these proposals are more preoccupied with the micro-management of law-abiding firearms owners (who are not the problem) than punishment or deterrence of gun criminals," Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, wrote in an email to NJ.com.
This is not the first time such sweeping measures have been introduced in the Garden State. Three similar measures that were introduced in 2019 – including one that would require firearms be kept in lock boxes and another that mandated gun dealers report all sales of firearms and ammunition to state police – passed the assembly but failed to pass the state senate.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.