NEW JERSEY– The Senate Monday approved a bill that would set common-sense gun safety standards for carrying concealed firearms in New Jersey.
The bill, S-3214/A-4769, sponsored by Senate President Nick Scutari and Senator Linda Greenstein, was approved with a vote of 21-16 and sent to Governor Phil Murphy.
“New Jersey continues to be a leader on gun safety with laws that help keep our communities safe,” said Senator Scutari. “This bill will help prevent gun violence with common-sense standards to require training, promote gun safety and prevent firearms from being carried into sensitive locations. Finally, this new law will help provide a tool for law-enforcement in our fight against illegal gun trafficking.”
The legislation would build on the effective gun laws already in place. It would prevent guns from ending up in the hands of the wrong people by requiring more comprehensive background checks, set training standards, prohibit permit holders from carrying handguns in sensitive public areas, and require insurance coverage to protect and compensate victims, among other measures.
The bill has received support from the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, the Association of Former New Jersey State Troopers, and the New Jersey State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association.
“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stripped away the right for states to regulate who is able to carry concealed weapons in public,” said Senator Greenstein, the chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee. “We must do everything we can to make sure New Jersey families remain safe and protected while enjoying all New Jersey has to offer. I believe this bill is a promising step in the right direction.”
Once enacted, the law would provide an additional tool for law-enforcement to fight against illegal gun trafficking.
Among other provisions, the legislation:
- Establishes a thorough vetting process for those who apply for concealed carry permits by increasing the number of non-family references who must vouch for applicants, and past violations of restraining orders and convictions.
- Prohibits permit holders from carrying handguns in more than 20 categories of “sensitive safety locations,” including schools, government buildings, polling places, bars and restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, parks, airports, casinos and childcare facilities. This would not apply to active or retired law enforcement officers.
- Requires private property owners to opt into allowing permittees to carry on their premises.
- Requires concealed-carry permittees to undergo gun safety training, including a gun range qualification.
- Imposes new insurance requirements on concealed carry permit holders to ensure victims are appropriately compensated and protected.
- Increases permitting fees across the board to cover the cost of stepped-up background checks and these new provisions.
- Funds the Victims of Crime Compensation Office by channeling revenue from the increased fees.
- Helps protect gun laws from legal challenges with “severability” clause.
- Widespread support from law enforcement.
“Today, the New Jersey Senate was not swayed by the guns everywhere agenda and stood up for public safety —- they voted to prioritize the safety of our communities by keeping guns out of daycare centers, train stations, playgrounds, and bars and restaurants that serve alcohol,” said Jenifer Berrier Gonzalez, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are grateful for the New Jersey Legislature’s leadership on gun safety and partnership throughout this process. We look forward to Governor Phil Murphy signing this bill into law so that families across the state are safer from gun violence.”
“It is no secret why New Jersey has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country: strong gun laws. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s reckless and dangerous Bruen decision has threatened to derail this progress and put countless communities at risk. With today’s passage of S3214, New Jersey chose to prioritize the safety and well-being of its citizens. This bill will prevent future violence and will save lives,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “There is a direct link to weak concealed carry laws and increased violent crime rates. We thank Senate President Scutari and Assistant Majority Leader Greenstein and the state of New Jersey for taking decisive action on gun violence.”