New Jersey Governor Murphy Announces More Assaults on Civil Liberties

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Like California, New Jersey is one of those states that just keeps popping up when it comes to bad policy and law.  The bounds of freedom limiting and squishing efforts seem endless.  When people talk about New Jersey gun laws, they say things like “Well, you already have everything restricted, what else can they do?”  The answer to that question is: Jump the shark. On Thursday, April 15, 2021, Governor Phil “The Bill of Rights is Above my Pay Grade” Murphy announced more measures that are going to be taken to strip fundamental rights from citizens.  From Governor Murphy’s press release, the following laws and measures are being considered:

Funding Gun Violence Prevention Measures

  • Increasing Violence Intervention Funding: Cities and states across the country have been demonstrating that we can achieve rapid, sustained reductions in shootings by investing in evidence-based, community-driven strategies like group violence intervention, relationship-based street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention programs. Though the FY2022 budget process, Governor Murphy proposes an additional $10 million in funding for these initiatives in New Jersey.
  • Dedicating $2 million to Rutgers GVRC: Governor Murphy established the Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University due to the federal government’s failure to dedicate funding to research gun violence as the public health epidemic that it is. The Governor’s FY2022 Budget proposal will dedicate $2 million to help the DVRC collect much-needed data in this area.

Supporting Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

  • Requiring Firearm Safety Training: S-2169/A-5030 (Weinberg/Reynolds-Jackson)
  • Mandating Safe Storage of Firearms: Owning a firearm for protection in the home can present a substantial obstacle to safe firearm storage, with individuals often opting to keep weapons loaded and easily accessible. Last legislative session, the Assembly passed A-3696/S-2240 (Downey/Gopal)
  • Raising Minimum Age to Purchase Long Guns to 21: Under current law, a person 18 years of age and older may obtain a firearms purchaser identification card and a handgun purchaser is required to be at least 21 years old. The bill (A-1141/S-3605, Freiman/Cryan)
  • Promoting Microstamping Technology: Microstamping technology provides law enforcement with the tools to quickly link firearm cartridge casings found at the scene of a crime to a specific firearm, without having to recover the firearm itself. The technology essentially creates a “license plate” on cartridge casings to identify the gun that was used to shoot the ammunition. Last legislative session, S-112/A-1098 (Weinberg/Downey)
  • Establishing Electronic Ammunition Sales Recordkeeping:
  • Banning .50 Caliber Firearms:
  • Closing Loophole for Importing Out-of-State Firearms: Individuals who move to New Jersey from another state are allowed to bring their legally acquired guns with them without registering the guns according to New Jersey law. A-3686/S-372 (Vainieri Huttle/Cryan)
  • 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.

Additional Measures

  • Regulating School Shooting Drills: New Jersey schools currently are required to conduct active shooter exercises but guidelines are vague on how drills should be conducted.
  • Reconvening Historic “States for Gun Safety” Summit: New Jersey was poised to host a multi-state summit in Newark last year on gun-safety issues — a first-of-its-kind event organized by a coalition of states that formed three years ago in response to persistent inaction on gun control at the federal level. The all-day summit was expected to draw governors and officials from New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The multi-state effort has involved a sharing of data among the member states, including the exchange of information about illegal trafficking and about those disqualified from owning firearms. Governor Murphy intends to reconvene the Summit in the Summer of 2021.
  • Announcing Nominations to the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission: Governor Murphy today announced that he will soon file nomations to the so-called “Smart Gun Commission.” The commission aims to bring together industry experts, business representatives, and advocates for discussion of gun violence in New Jersey.

Well, there you have it, “what else can they do?”  – Going over this list point by point is something of a dissertation level work, however, lets look at a few highlights on what the freedom-hating policymakers in New Jersey intend.

The funding measures outlined are just more “we’re doing something” proposals.  You cannot just throw money at a problem and expect it to go away.  New Jersey and in particular the cities of New Jersey should be looking at programs such as Operation Ceasefire, which successfully curbed violence in Boston in the late ’90s.

The law proposals.  On their face, many of these are outright unconstitutional.  Mandatory training and storage laws both go against the protections we’re supposed to have from government intervention.  Paraphrasing “other states have laws like these” in the press release, we can turn around and ask the public masters of New Jersey “And if they jumped off a bridge?”  It should not have to be said, but just because someone else has done it does not mean it’s right or effective.

Looking at raising the age to 21 to purchase a long gun is preposterous when the same progressive ideologues just passed a measure in the House of Representatives allowing 16-year-olds to vote.  If anything, the age requirement should have exemptions for emancipated youth – yes, that is a thing and I know an individual that was an emancipated youth.  The “old enough to vote” argument should be enough here.

Microstamping has already proved to be unable to be obtained in other states, and coming from New Jersey, the home of failed “smart gun” laws, this is no surprise.  Mandating microstamping for all firearms and the technology not being available would not hurt carpetbagger from Massachusetts Murphy one bit.  To him, “A safer society, for my taste, has fewer guns and not more guns…”, so passing impossible laws to comport to is right up his alley.

Electronic tracking of ammunition sales is just a silly proposition.  They cite that there are “straw purchases” for ammunition as one of the motivating factors here.  This is going to boil down to probably restricting online sales.  Let’s be honest, does anyone think that your run-of-the-mill criminal or gangbanger is going into the sporting goods store with their FID to buy their pistol ammo now?  Do we think the said criminal has someone in their life that has an FID card to buy ammo for them?  This is so infantile it is absurd.  The criminals do not buy their guns or ammunition at the gun stores.

The .50 caliber ban is also another ridiculous proposal.  Can anyone name a crime (or multiple crimes) that was committed with a .50 cal?  Anyone?  It is cost-prohibitive to use a .50 for criminal intent, never mind cumbersome to handle.  Next…

This is an interesting topic I never heard of, “Closing Loophole for Importing Out-of-State Firearms”.  I never knew this was a problem.  Citing that people moving from out of state into New Jersey are not required to register their firearms.  And this is true.  But, I’d like to see valid statistics that show this is a threat to public safety.  Funny sidebar, I was in a police station in New Jersey and someone came in to talk to an officer about how he just moved into the state.  He asked “I just moved here so I want to know what I need to do about my handguns.”  The officer replied “You need to fill out this voluntary registration form.”  You read that correctly, voluntary registration form.  It is voluntary, and when asked, apparently some police officers say “you need to”.  Chew on that.  That is New Jersey.  I’m sure having every well-meaning resident register their firearms will have a huge effect on crime in the state.

There is no secret that New Jersey is chomping at the bit to sue the gun industry for any and everything.  Read their proposal again:

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.

Somebody in the New Jersey government wrote that and thinks that is a valid statement.  Should jewelry suppliers be held accountable for when someone gets robbed at gunpoint because the diamonds they supply have value? What if said person is killed during the mugging?  The amount of backward logic to that statement will echo for a really long time.  Does this pass the reasonable man test?  As in a manufacturer of a good is responsible for it after it’s sold?  Just a sidebar, there are no gun shows or flea markets in New Jersey that sell firearms.

Then there are the “additional measures”.  They wear most of what they are about on their sleeve.  However, the Historic “States for Gun Safety” Summit that is discussed…Well, the constitutionality of that needs to be questioned.  Because if you dig into what the “summit” is all about, it sounds a lot like the heads of government of different states coming together to conspire against their citizens and limit freedoms.  Just throwing that out there.  RICO anyone?

I reached out to Scott Bach, the Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) and this is what he had to say about Thursday’s announcement:

Unfortunately, these proposals are more preoccupied with the micro-management of law-abiding firearms owners (who are not the problem) than punishment or deterrence of gun criminals.  They would make no one safer, and will only make meaningless headlines.

This is the next wave of attacks that are headed to New Jersey.  Don’t kid yourself that this will stay in New Jersey, as it will not.  The progressive freedom limiting agenda will spread to other states.  None of what is proposed will have anything to do to limit crime or violence.  These are just measures to punish the law-abiding.  It is simply a Castaway chest-beating “I have made fire” declaration, as if they are actually helping the citizens of New Jersey.  Consider supporting groups like the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, and New Jersey Second Amendment Society, to help stall the freedom limiting cancer from spreading to your state!

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May 16, 2021 11:30 AM ET
May 16, 2021 8:30 AM ET