Governor Phil Murphy calls on NJ lawmakers to pass gun safety package

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Thursday, December 2, 2021
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling for lawmakers to pass a comprehensive gun safety package, part of his push to address the gun violence crisis, Toni Yates reports.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is calling for state lawmakers to pass a comprehensive gun safety package, part of a new push to address the nation's gun violence crisis.

If passed by the Legislature and signed into law, the bill package would be the third wide-ranging gun safety package signed by Murphy since taking office.

Among the measures are reforms that would ensure firearms are handled safely, provide additional tools to law enforcement, and regulate school shooting drills.

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"Over the past four years, New Jersey has become a national leader on gun safety," Murphy said. "We must continue to build on that progress and make our state safer for the over nine million people who call New Jersey home. Today, I am proud to further commit to this goal, and I hope to work with my Legislative partners to take this step by the end of this legislative session. I thank Speaker Coughlin, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, and other legislative partners for their continued commitment to gun safety."

In partnership with the Legislature, Murphy has already taken significant steps to combat the epidemic of gun violence.

Among other things, 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 Rutgers Gun Violence Research Center to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis, and established a partnership with a coalition of states to share crime gun data between law enforcement agencies.

"Supporting this bill package alongside the governor today represents just the latest installment in our ongoing effort to lead the nation on fair and robust common-sense gun safety laws," Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said. "Essential training, better tracking of firearms and ammunition, safer storage, and stronger policy to stem the flow of out-of-state guns into New Jersey are how we keep our communities safe. Our children deserve nothing less than to feel safe at school, and our residents to grocery shop, worship, and go about their day with peace of mind."

Murphy on Thursday recommitted to the following additional reforms:

Ensuring Firearms are Handled Safely

--Requiring Firearm Safety Training: S-2169/A-5030 (Weinberg/Reynolds-Jackson) would modernize firearm ID cards, as well as 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.

Making New Jersey Safer

--Banning .50 Caliber Firearms: S-103/A-1280 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-3686/S-372 would require firearm owners who move to New Jersey to obtain a firearm purchaser identification card (FPIC) and register their firearms within 30 days of residing in this State.

Giving Law Enforcement the Tools to Address Gun Violence

--Establishing Electronic Ammunition Sales Recordkeeping: A-1292/S-1481 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-112/A-1098 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 Actions

--Regulating School Shooting Drills: New Jersey schools currently are required to conduct active shooter exercises but guidelines are not specific about how those drills should be conducted. The governor proposes authorizing the Department of Education to establish trauma-informed and age-appropriate standards for lockdown drills.

--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.

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