New Jersey enacts stricter gun laws; Murphy: violence not 'price of living in U.S.'

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a package of gun safety bills into law on Tuesday as the country recovers after yet another mass shooting.

"There are those who think it this is all just the price of living in the United States. But we believe differently," Murphy said. "We know that we can take on the epidemic of gun violence and win."

These new laws will regulate ammunition sales, empower the state's attorney general to prosecute gun manufacturers and retailers, require dealers to sell microstamping-enabled firearms, ban the sale of some .50-caliber rifles, and require gun owners who move to New Jersey to register their firearms and be trained to obtain a new firearms purchaser identification card, which must be renewed every 10 years.

Murphy proposed these bills back in April 2021 but the Legislature didn't act until last week.

"There were those who said we would never get the gun safety bills we all supported through the Legislature," Murphy stated. "There were those who said that we were being too ambitious, that the gun lobby was too strong and that our political system would not have the will to take on and win this fight. But again, we believed differently."

The New York Legislature also took action last week after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's concealed carry law. Lawmakers met for an emergency session and designated gun-free zones including bars, schools, government buildings, mass transit, and Times Square.

Murphy signed an executive order directing state agencies to review current statutes with the same goal in mind. He also asked the New Jersey Legislature to expand the list of where firearms can be prohibited.  

"We're not going to just lay down and let our streets or houses of worship or supermarkets, shopping malls, sports arenas or bars or anywhere else to be overrun with hidden guns capable of unleashing a hail of bullets," Murphy said. "I look forward to working with the Legislature."

State lawmakers weren't able to come to a deal on one measure – raising the age for those allowed to buy rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21.  However, lawmakers could take this up over the summer.

Response from Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs

"Gov. Murphy's bill package chooses to target law-abiding gun owners while ignoring criminals and those with dangerous behavioral issues who are responsible for most violence in New Jersey." —Scott Bach, Executive Director, ANJRPC

Summary of Legislation Passed

  • A1765/S1893: Allows the New Jersey attorney general to bring a cause of action for certain public nuisance violations arising from the sale or marketing of firearms.
  • A1179/S1204: Requires firearms owners who move to New Jersey to obtain a firearms purchaser identification card and register any handguns they brought from out-of-state.
  • A4367/S2846: Upgrades certain crimes related to manufacturing firearms from third degree to second degree.
  • A4366/S2905: Revises the definition of "destructive device" to include certain .50-caliber rifles. (This is a de facto ban on new purchases of .50-caliber rifles; antique firearms are exempt.)
  • A1302/S2903: Regulates the sale of handgun ammunition and develops an electronic registry to report and track sales of handgun ammo.
  • A4370/S2906: Requires training for the issuance of a firearms purchaser identification card and the permit to purchase handgun under certain circumstances; provides that the firearms purchaser identification card includes the applicant's photograph and thumbprint and remains valid for 10 years.
  • A4368/S2907: Requires firearms retailers to sell microstamping-enabled firearms; these are not widely available yet so it will take effect when the New Jersey attorney general determines their availability.

With The Associated Press and FOX 5 NY Staff.