Governor Murphy Toughens New Jersey’s Gun Laws by Signing Safety Measures to Protect Children and Families

Governor Murphy Toughens New Jersey’s Gun Laws by Signing Safety Measures to Protect Children and Families

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed a package of common-sense gun safety bills that make New Jersey among the states with the strongest and most formidable gun laws in the nation. More than 2,000 shootings occur annually in New Jersey, with around 500 firearm-related deaths each year.  Firearm-related violence costs the state’s economy approximately $1.2 billion annually, and directly costs taxpayers nearly $275 million.

“Today, I’m proud to sign this series of common-sense gun safety bills into law to protect our children and families from the reckless dangers of gun violence, something the federal government has failed to do on behalf of its residents,” said Governor Murphy. “By setting these higher standards for gun safety, New Jersey continues to bolster its reputation as a national leader on this critical social and public health issue.” 

The six bills include:

A1181, which allows mental health practitioners and law enforcement officials to keep firearms away from mental health and therapy patients who seek to harm themselves or others. The bill amends current law to require that licensed mental health practitioners exercise their duty to warn and protect by alerting law enforcement if a patient has threatened to and intends to commit imminent, serious physical violence against themselves or others.  If law enforcement determines that the patient is incapable under statute of possessing a firearm, then any firearm ID card or purchasing or carrying permit is voided and subject to revocation by the Superior Court.

Sponsors include Assembly members Patricia Egan Jones, Gabriela M. Mosquera, Shavonda E. Sumter, JoAnn Downey, Arthur Barclay and Paul D. Moriarty.

A1217, known as the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018, authorizes New Jersey courts to issue gun violence protective orders to individuals who pose a significant risk of personal injury to themselves or others by possessing or owning a firearm.  The protective orders prohibit the person who the order is filed against from securing or possessing any permit or license allowing firearm possession during the protective-order period.  The bill also makes it a fourth-degree crime for a person to purposely or knowingly violate any provision of an extreme risk protective order.  

Sponsors include Assembly members John F. McKeon, Louis D. Greenwald, Mila M. Jasey, Tim Eustace, Andrew Zwicker, Carol A. Murphy and Paul D. Moriarity.

A2757 strengthens the safety of firearm transfers by requiring background checks on individuals who are purchasing from or being transferred firearms by private dealers.  The bill amends current law to require any person who is not a licensed firearm retail dealer and who privately sells or transfers a firearm to another person to conduct the transaction through a licensed retail dealer.  Licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check of the person acquiring the firearm before the transaction occurs.  In addition, the legislation exempts sales and transfers between members of an immediate family; law enforcement; licensed collectors of antique firearms; or a temporary transfer from being conducted through a licensed dealer and subject to a background check. 

Sponsors include Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald, Jamel C. Holley, Paul D. Moriarity and Senator Linda R. Greenstein.

A2758 amends the requirements necessary to show a justifiable need to carry a hand gun in public.  This bill changes the serious threat threshold established by the previous administration by expressly defining justifiable need to require a showing of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life and that cannot be avoided other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun. The bill’s requirement to show specific threats tightens the qualifications for firearm carrying.  

Sponsors include Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald, Jamel C. Holley, Paul D. Moriarity and Senator Linda R. Greenstein.

A2759 adds armor piercing ammunition to the list of ammunition that is prohibited in New Jersey.  The bill was written to prevent civilians from legally possessing ammunition that is designed and constructed to penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar and clarifies that possession or manufacture of this ammunition is a fourth-degree crime.

Sponsors include Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald, Carol A. Murphy. Annette Quijano, Jamel C. Holley, and Paul D. Moriarity and Senators Fred H. Madden, Jr. and Linda R. Greenstein.

A2761 reduces the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines from 15 to 10 rounds. The exception is for current law enforcement who are on-duty or traveling to or from duty and retired law enforcement.  Individuals who legally own a firearm with an unmodifiable fixed magazine capacity of up to 15 rounds or legally own a firearm that only accepts an unmodifiable detachable magazine of up to 15 rounds prior to the effective date of the bill must register the firearm with their local law enforcement agency.  The bill makes it a fourth-degree crime for a person to knowingly possess a large capacity ammunition magazine unless a firearm such a magazine is registered as required.

Sponsors include Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald, Annette Quijano, Gordon M. Johnson, Jamel C. Holley, and Paul D. Moriarity.

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