NJ carry crackdown could be law by Christmas

NJ carry crackdown could be law by Christmas

New Jersey’s latest legislative assault on the Second Amendment rights of residents could get to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk before Christmas after a key Senate committee advanced a bill imposing all kinds of infringements on the right to carry on Monday. And with Murphy willing to become the Grinch Who Stole Civil Rights in the name of “gun safety”, A4769 is certain to be signed into law as soon as possible.

On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re delving into some of the latest testimony, including that of a Moms Demand Action volunteer that amply demonstrated why that organization’s claims to “support the Second Amendment and reasonable gun safety measures” is a blatant lie. The gun control lobby loves to claim that they’re not opposed to legal gun ownership or the right of self-defense, but Monday’s testimony made it clear they believe that even those who manage to meet New Jersey’s draconian proposed licensing standards are still a public safety threat.

Lisa Winkler, an organizer with the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, supported the bill.

“The idea that a good guy with a gun resorting to vigilantism will make us safer is a fantasy, and not rooted in sound logic or statistics,” Wiker told lawmakers.

“If guns made us safer, the U.S. would be one of the safest in the developed world, not one of the worst.”

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about someone who’s forked over hundreds of dollars in application and training fees, purchased the liability insurance mandated under the New Jersey proposal, and even found character references to vouch for their “suitability” to carry a firearm. As far as Winkler’s concerned, if they’re carrying a gun (or keeping one at home), they’re part of the problem.

That anti-gun ideology was well represented in the Senate committee that advanced A4769 to the floor, with every Democrat voting in favor of the bill (and all Republicans opposed). Opponents tried in vain to point out the folly of making it as expensive and burdensome as possible to acquire a license, noting that those who are likely to be most impacted are arguably some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The proposal would increase a carry permit fee from $50 to $200. Applicants would also be required to pay for their own training and insurance.

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said Monday that the proposed fee hikes, compared to other states, were “regressive and way too high.”

Joseph Loporto, who represents the non-profit Safe Way Out, which provides safety consulting and self-defense instruction to domestic violence victims and others, said that when polled, a majority of their clients expressed a need for a carry permit.

“Many of our clients are indigent,” coming from urban centers like Newark, Paterson and Trenton, he said.

“Making this process so hard and expensive is a thinly veiled attempt to restrict the rights of the poor, and that has obvious implications in creating a disparate impact along racial and ethnic lines.”

Well, when you have Democratic politicians openly wondering why on earth they’d want to give residents of majority-minority cities like Camden and Trenton the ability to carry a gun in public, I’d say there aren’t too many of them who are terribly concerned about the racial and economic disparities that are likely to result from the law. And honestly, it’s not like this a new phenomena; the state’s laws have long made it more difficult for inner-city residents and those on the lower end of the economic spectrum to even own a gun. As the husband of a former single mom who lived in Camden back when it was the murder capital of the United States in the 1990s, I have at least secondhand experience in how New Jersey’s gun laws made it virtually impossible for good people in bad neighborhoods to legally arm themselves, even as their apartment complexes were being turned into battlegrounds for local gangs and drug dealers warring over turf.

Some things never change, even in the face of a Supreme Court decision that informed lawmakers they’ve been violating the constitutionally-protected rights of their constituents. A majority of legislators (and the governor as well) are just as hostile to the right to keep and bear arms today as their predecessors in the past. What is different about today’s struggle to secure the Second Amendment rights of New Jersey residents is that those 2A activists have the Supreme Court on their side. With a challenge to New Jersey’s magazine ban already on tap for Supreme Court review and the pending restrictions on concealed carry soon becoming ripe enough for a legal challenge, the federal courthouses in New Jersey could be an even more important arena that the statehouse in the coming months.