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Gov. Murphy urges passage of comprehensive gun safety reform in wake of Uvalde Elementary School shooting

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy renewed his call Wednesday for the passage of the comprehensive gun safety legislative package that he initially proposed in April 2021.

The Governor urged legislators to pass the same package in April 2022four months after he was joined by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in support of the gun safety bills. If passed by the Senate and Assembly and signed into law, the bill package discussed today would be the third wide-ranging gun safety package signed by the Governor since taking office.

Today’s press conference, attended by educators and gun safety advocates, was held in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting on Tuesday and the Buffalo supermarket shooting less than two weeks ago.

“From Uvalde to Buffalo, recent tragedies have reaffirmed that, in the absence of substantive reform, no community is immune to the epidemic of gun violence,” Murphy said. “The senseless murders in Texas should fortify our resolve to take action today – to avoid similar horrors not through empty words and promises, but through concrete measures to make every classroom and neighborhood safer. Our children, as well as the teachers who devote their lives to their education and safety, deserve nothing less.”

In partnership with the Legislature, Governor Murphy has already taken significant steps to combat the gun violence epidemic. Among other measures, New Jersey has established a “red flag” law for gun violence protective orders, criminalized firearms trafficking, strengthened background checks, reduced the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines, banned “ghost guns,” established the Gun Violence Research Center to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis, and established a partnership with a coalition of states (Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania) to share crime gun data among law enforcement agencies.

“More than a dozen families in Uvalde were torn apart yesterday by gun violence,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. “As we are reminded of a reality in which massacres are more common than gun laws, it is clear that thoughts and prayers are meaningless without action. New Jersey has lead the nation in acting strong gun control measures but unfortunately, gun violence still happens far too often in our own communities. If anything is truly going to change we need federal legislation. No child, family, or state is immune to gun violence until we act. We should always feel safe when walking in our neighborhoods or our local grocery stores, and especially on the sacred ground that is our schools.”

Governor Murphy today recommitted to the following reforms:

Ensuring Firearms are Handled Safely

  • Requiring Firearm Safety Training:  A-993 (Reynolds-Jackson) would require completion of a firearm safety course to receive a permit to purchase a gun or receive a firearm ID card.
  • Mandating Safe Storage of Firearms: Gun owners would be required to store guns in a lockbox or gun safe. (For reference: A-2215 (Greenwald), the “New Jersey Safe Storage of Firearms Act”)

Making New Jersey Safer

  • Banning .50 Caliber Firearms: S-1416 (Gill) would revise the definition of “destructive device” under New Jersey law so that it includes weapons of .50 caliber or greater.
  • Closing Loophole for Importing Out-of-State Firearms:  A-1179/S-1204 (Jasey/Cryan) would require firearm owners who move to New Jersey to obtain a firearm purchaser identification card (FPIC) and register their firearms within 60 days of residing in this State.
  • Raising Minimum Age to Purchase Long Guns to 21:  A-509/S-504 (Freiman/Cryan) would raise from 18 to 21 the age at which a person is eligible to receive a firearms purchaser identification card used to purchase shotguns and rifles.

Giving Law Enforcement the Tools to Address Gun Violence

  • Establishing Electronic Ammunition Sales Recordkeeping: A-1302 (Greenwald) would require manufacturers or dealers of handgun ammunition to keep a detailed electronic record of ammunition sales, and report ammunition sales to the State Police.
  • Promoting Microstamping Technology: S-1462/A-2216 (Codey/Greenwald) would require within a year that firearm manufacturers incorporate microstamping technology into new handguns sold in New Jersey, providing law enforcement with a tool to quickly link firearm cartridge casings found at the scene of a crime to a specific firearm, without having to recover the firearm itself.

Additional Action 

  • Holding the Gun Industry Accountable: In New Jersey, almost 80% of guns used in crimes are originally purchased outside of the state.  However, the gun industry has failed to take any steps to stem the flow of guns to the illegal market through gun shows, flea markets, straw purchasers, and theft.  The Governor proposes amending the state’s public nuisance laws to prohibit the gun industry from endangering the safety or health of the public through its sale, manufacturing, importing, or marketing of guns.  (For reference: A-1765/S-1893 (McKeon/Ruiz)

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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