New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday, July 16 signed a whole slew of new gun regulations.

The four bills, designed explicitly to discourage a sporting lifestyle and make gun ownership more onerous, expensive and personally liable in the state cover everything from establishing a “commission” to setting regulations on so-called “smart guns” requiring all retailers to sell at least one model, once available.

When asked about the “suicide prevention” bill affecting gun range owners in the state (A3896), Anthony Colandro, owner of Gun For Hire at the Woodland Park Range and newly elected NRA Board Member told Bearing Arms, “At Gun For Hire we have been taking mental health first aid seriously since we started. We sponsored the mental health certification for the Town of Woodland Park (where we are located). All of my staff gets mental health training and suicide prevention training by the American Society for Suicide Prevention, and we keep brochures on hand for prevention. We have been doing this since day 1 and all this bill does is “encourage” gun range owners to take the courses – it doesn’t make it mandatory. We have been doing it for five years already – even working with National Shooting Sports Foundation to test their mental health issues programming. Ultimately, though, the bill doesn’t address violent crime – it is up to individual gun owners and range owners to be educated and safely pursue their sport.”

But that is just the tip of the iceberg – included in the package were S3897, which would add convictions of crimes such as carjacking or making terroristic threats to the list of crimes that ban people from buying firearms in the state; A4449, which would make it a third-degree crime for people who aren’t allowed to have a gun who attempt to obtain one and S101,  the so-called “smart gun bill.”

Smart Guns In New Jersey

S101, the so-called “smart gun” bill, does two things – first, it repeals an existing state law (passed in 2002) to force every gun shop in the state to only sell smart guns once the devices were viable for market in any other state (instead forcing every gun shop in the state to sell at least one “approved” smart gun). Then, it creates a commission of unelected bureaucrats to create and maintain a “roster” of sorts for which smart guns may (must) be sold in the state.

In comments to NJ.com New Jersey’s other NRA board member, Scott Bach, said “In 2002, the anti-gunners tipped their hand by passing a ban on everything other than a smart gun,” and claimed that this was “being used as a vehicle to ban everything else.”

Much to the chagrin of media talking heads, smart guns have largely been put to the side by manufacturers. The complicated devices (of which there are no working prototypes), promise “safety” features such as grip-fingerprint sensors (try it on your iPhone with just your thumb and see how often it doesn’t work – then tell me you’d be safe with the same device deciding whether you could protect your life with your own gun in an emergency) and other expensive gadgets that would make shooting less accessible to the common man and woman – putting the idea of gun ownership onerous and out of reach with huge expenses that would drive up the cost for middle- and lower-income gun owners.

Murphy’s Anti-2A Stance

Governor Murphy has made it a marquee issue of his administration to sign as many gun control measures as he can squeeze out of his Democrat allies in the state legislature – going so far in his 2017 campaign for Governor as to vow that he would pass “every piece of gun control legislation” that crossed his desk as Governor, has now signed two packages of gun bills since taking office – a package of six last year that banned so-called “Ghost Guns” to the additional package of four today.

Gun owners (and even fellow Democrats) meanwhile have pushed back or pumped the brakes on his ambitiously anti-gun agenda. Senate President Steve Sweeney, a fellow Democrat, has refused to hear four additional bills and gun groups in the state, such as the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, the 2nd Amendment Society and the Association Of NJ Rifle And Pistol Clubs (the state affiliate of the NRA) have mounted a strong defense against these bills.

About the Author

Cody McLaughlin is a vocal activist, noted conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He is a contributor for the NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum and a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, representing the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena. You can find him on twitter at @mclaugh19