New Jersey lawmakers OK, send to governor 6 new gun bills
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Declaring it New Jersey’s response to a national crisis, lawmakers on Thursday sent a half-dozen measures tightening the state’s already-strict gun control laws to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
The Democratic governor said he would sign the bills, establishing some of the “toughest gun laws in the nation.”
The Democratic-led Senate approved the bills that began advancing after a fatal high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead in February.
“This is our response to our national crisis,” said Democratic state Sen. Richard Codey, who served as governor from 2004 to 2006. “We need national legislation.”
Murphy wrote on Twitter Thursday night that he would sign the bills on Wednesday. He campaigned on a promise for more “sensible” gun control laws.
The legislation, previously approved by the Assembly, has seen a number of hearings, including an emotional hourslong meeting that featured moms wearing red T-shirts who supported tighter gun laws, self-identified National Rifle Association members and even a former Indy Car racer who worried about his rights being eroded.
The measures have earned the scorn of gun rights advocates who say they won’t protect people and only hurt law-abiding residents.
“None of the bills passed today will make anyone safer,” said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs. “Lawmakers have squandered an important opportunity to make our schools safer and prevent those with serious mental health issues from obtaining firearms in the first place.”
Bach said his group plans to pursue legal action to have them overturned.
Some of the measures require the seizure of firearms when a mental health professional determines someone poses a threat. Another bill requires background checks for private gun sales. Another lowers the magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10, with an exception for a popular .22-caliber rifle.
Another bill requires residents to show a “justifiable need” to get a carry permit. One measure prohibits body-armor-penetrating ammunition. The sixth bill establishes an “extreme risk protective order” against people a court determines pose a significant danger, prohibiting those people from having or buying guns or ammo.
The story has been corrected to show the bills had faced a Senate vote, not a Senate and Assembly vote.