New NJ gun control bills head to Murphy for signing

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The Bruen decision was always going to upset a lot of apple carts. We all knew it, even before the decision came out. There was no way this particular Court was likely to side with New York on this issue. It just wasn’t happening.

And it didn’t.

Now, many states are scrambling to pass new gun control laws. One, New Jersey, is already at the point of sending a bill to Gov. Phil Murphy for signing.

New Jersey is on the verge of further tightening its already strict gun laws as the state Legislature passed a package of bills Wednesday to increase firearm regulations and Gov. Phil Murphy vowed immediately to sign them, ending a long stalemate on the issue.

Under the seven proposals — many of which Murphy has sought for more than a year — New Jersey would mandate people receive firearm training to obtain a gun permit, ban .50 caliber rifles, require micro-stamping technology, stipulate new residents moving from other states register firearms, regulate handgun ammunition, crack down on ghost guns, and make it easier to sue gun manufacturers and dealers over gun crimes in the state.

So, let’s take a look at these proposals one by one.

Training Mandate

Now, this one is interesting because Bruen didn’t actually close the door on training requirements. It probably should have, but it did argue that such a requirement couldn’t be overly onerous. The bill itself doesn’t actually dictate a length for training, saying only “a course of instruction approved by the superintendent in the lawful and safe handling and storage of firearms.”

In other words, they may well be a simple two-hour course that deals just with the basics.

Or the superintendent may only approve courses with 40 hours of classroom instruction and another 20 in range time, which would be going too far.

Whether or not this would survive really depends on what form the approved training consists of.

.50 Caliber Rifle Ban

This one is particularly stupid to me because we’ve never seen a crime committed with such a firearm. At least, not since the days of cap lock muzzleloaders being the primary firearms available.

So why is this ban a thing? Because anti-Second Amendment lawmakers are terrified of such guns. They’re great for defending against tyranny, which makes them too awful for these folks to contemplate.

However, based on my reading of Bruen, I’m not entirely sure this would survive.

While .50 caliber rifles aren’t as common as AR-15s, they may be in common enough use to get this law overturned.

Microstamping

They’re passing this. Expect nothing to come of it since microstamping doesn’t actually work as advertised and likely never will.

This may be the law, but I expect reality to set in within a few years, particularly since this law may well create a de facto gun ban, which I doubt the Supreme Court will take kindly to.

Especially following Bruen.

Requiring New Residents to Register Firearms

Figure the odds of this actually happening.

Look, if someone moves into New Jersey with the intention of staying forever, they probably will. If someone is only there for a couple of years–say, military or something–then I suspect many will just pretend the guns are stored out of state.

Plus, registries really are unconstitutional in the first place. No one should be forced to tell the government what weapons they have with which they can defend themselves from the government. That flies in the face of what the Founding Fathers intended.

Handgun Ammo Regulation

This requires ammunition dealers to keep a record of who buys ammo and then provide that record to the state police.

Congratulations, New Jersey. Black market types all over the state are looking forward to this new and exciting business opportunity as people go across state lines to buy up ammo, drive back, then sell the ammo to those who don’t want to show up on those records.

Nicely done.

“Crack down” on “Ghost Guns”

Homemade firearms are the scapegoat for every governmental failure imaginable right now. They represent a tiny fraction of firearms used in criminal offenses, yet are treated as if they’re the reason we have high crime.

This is nothing more than an attempt to look like they’re doing something without actually doing anything.

Gun Industry Liability

This is going to be another attempt to try and blame gun companies and dealers, and their marketing, for violent crimes. The problem is that they generally don’t require the bad guy to have even seen the marketing, which I don’t think would survive a legal challenge.

Then there’s the idea that Bruen may actually have gutted this kind of thing.

So, all in all, New Jersey is going to push more and more gun control in spite of Bruen, the Constitution, and reality.

What else is new?