Governor Phil Murphy’s recent executive orders were likely designed with the idea that they could increase public safety, not just in New Jersey but throughout the country. The effort seeks to require anyone making a bid on state firearm contracts meet certain criteria.
Under the order, a division of the state treasury will request the vendors and retailers selling guns and ammunition to the state to adhere to public safety principles. Those include preventing, detecting and screening for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers and firearm traffickers.
Prospective bids for guns and ammo under the order are to require that each vendor adhere to those principles in order to win the bid.
Bill Castner, the Murphy administration’s special adviser for firearms, said Tuesday recent state purchasing of firearms, ammo and other accessories is $70 million.
Here’s the problem with this plan.
First, gun manufacturers don’t really sell to individuals. They sell primarily to distributors who then sell to gun stores. It’s the stores that sell to individuals. Even if someone buys directly from a company’s website, though, it still has to go through someone with a federal firearms license. In other words, manufacturers could develop all the policies in the world and it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans because they’re not selling to the people Murphy is worried about.
However, the biggest problem is that New Jersey isn’t a big enough customer to warrant that kind of nonsense.
“But they spent $70 million on guns, ammo, and accessories!”
Look, most of that $70 million was going to be on ammo. That’s something you burn through while training and evaluating officers at every level. You go through a whole lot of ammunition in the course of a year. That’s especially true if officers are continuing to train regularly on their own time, as they should.
However, ammo companies aren’t really in a position to screen for straw buyers because in most states. While it may be for New Jersey, it’s not in Free America. Further, most of them also sell through distributors.
In other words, they’re no the final say on who gets to buy ammo and who doesn’t.
So with all of that out there, a lot of gun manufacturers are potentially going to look at the requirements being set out and decide that it’s just not worth the hassle. New Jersey is a state that has made it clear it wants to put them out of business anyway, so how many will refuse to even bit on contracts with that as a requirement?
It’s not like Glock or Smith & Wesson really need the state of New Jersey’s sales to stay afloat. In fact, I suspect the real profit from such sales is in advertising that X department is carrying your firearm. Make it more costly for them to bid and they may decide the advertising win just isn’t enough to warrant the headache.
The problem is, that means there’s a good chance the only people who will bid will be those who are going to either make the bid high enough to recoup the costs required to create such stupidity or companies that are desperate for validation.
Those with a desperate need for validation are likely to be much lower quality firearms than what officers currently carry, which means the potential exists for a greater number of malfunctions.
Folks, if there’s one thing you don’t want to see, it’s police officers with crappy guns. While there may be no duty to protect individual citizens, with a jammed or broken weapon, there is no ability to protect individual citizens.
Of course, that’s a worst-case scenario. It’s also entirely possible that the taxpayers of New Jersey are just going to be stuck paying more for the same firearms because their governor doesn’t understand how the firearms market actually works.
Either way, it’s unlikely to be good news for the citizens of New Jersey.