New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy infamously declared last year that the Bill of Rights was above his pay grade, and apparently the Democrat hasn’t bothered to bone up on what the Constitutional actually says in the months since. The ardent anti-gunner, who squeaked to re-election last month, is doing his best to make New Jersey the state that’s most hostile to the Second Amendment by pushing for a new round of gun control legislation, starting with a bill that would require all would-be legal gun owners in the state to take a class before they could exercise their right to keep a gun in their home.
Gathered outside Metuchen Borough Hall with parents and student activists, State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, and Murphy promoted the bills, which would mandate a safety course for gun owners, ban .50 caliber guns, and create standards for active shooter drills in schools and take other actions.
This is the third package of gun-control measures Murphy has pushed since taking office in 2018 and one of the first major initiatives he is undertaking after winning re-election last month in a closer-than-expected race.
“We have re-established ourselves as the quintessential gun safety state,” Murphy said. But he acknowledged that in the wake of another school shooting, this time at Oxford High School in Michigan where four students were killed by a 15-year-old classmate with his father’s gun on Tuesday, the work of enacting “common sense” gun safety laws is not finished.
“We gather today, families as families halfway across the country in Michigan are grappling with the grief and horror that their children are no longer with them,” the governor said. “Those children should all be alive today. Their peers should not be dealing with the after effects of their school’s hallways being in the gunman’s crosshairs.”
Murphy said passing the package of bills, introduced in April, tops his “to-do list” during the lame duck session — the period between last month’s elections and when the new state Legislature is sworn in Jan. 11. Whatever bills do not pass during the session must be reintroduced.
It’s disgusting (yet totally on brand) for Murphy to tie in his proposed infringements on a civil right to the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, especially when there’s plenty of evidence that New Jersey’s draconian gun control laws aren’t stopping criminals intent on violence from carrying out their plans.
Of course, Murphy believes that New Jersey hasn’t gone far enough to crack down on gun ownership, which is why cities like Newark, Trenton, and Paterson are plagued by violent crime. So here’s what he’s proposing:
- Modernize firearm ID cards and require people to complete a firearm safety course to obtain a permit to buy a gun or receive a firearm ID card in New jersey (S2169).
- Require gun owners in the state to store firearms in a lockbox or safe.
- Ban weapons of .50 caliber or greater in the state (S103).
- Require gun owners who move to New Jersey to obtain a firearm purchaser ID card and register their guns within 30 days (A3686).
- Require ammunition manufacturers and dealers to keep a detailed electronic record of sales and report them to the State Police (A1292).
- Mandate firearm manufacturers to, within a year, incorporate micro-stamping technology into new handguns sold in New Jersey to provide law enforcement with a tool to quickly link firearm cartridge casings found at the scene of a crime to a specific firearm, without having to recover the firearm itself.
- Authorize the state Department of Education to establish standards for mandated school shooting drills.
- Amend the state’s public nuisance laws to prohibit the gun industry from endangering the safety or health of the public through its sale, manufacturing, importing, or marketing of guns. Officials say 80% of guns used in crimes in New Jersey come from out of state.
Murphy should package all of these bills together and label it the Second Amendment Attorneys Full Employment Act, because almost every one of these provisions is going to be challenged in court if they make it out of the state legislature.
Honestly, I could write a post about each and every one of these proposals, but let’s take them as a whole instead. What we’re looking at here is an attempt by Murphy to throw as much gun control spaghetti to the wall as he can to see how much of it sticks. From requiring citizens to pass a class before they can exercise a civil right to trying to track all ammunition purchasers and impose microstamping requirements on all new handguns, the unifying goal of these bills is to make it much more difficult and legally dangerous to exercise your Second Amendment rights.
The legislative package is a hodgepodge of some of the gun control lobby’s most onerous restrictions already imposed in other states: California’s microstamping law, New York’s new law allowing gun companies to be sued under the state’s public nuisance statutes, Colorado and Oregon’s storage mandates, and more. Many of these laws are already facing their own legal challenges, and if Murphy has his way the federal courts are going to be busy weighing in (and hopefully striking down) his new infringements on the rights of New Jersey residents.
And given the make up of New Jersey’s legislature, Murphy likely has the votes to make life even more miserable for Garden State gun owners. The biggest roadblock at the moment would appear to be State Senate President Steve Sweeney, who lost his re-election bid to longshot candidate Ed Durr. Sweeney’s actually butted heads with Murphy on gun control bills in the past, and if he’s hoping to win back his seat in the statehouse four years from now he could bank some goodwill with gun owners in his district by shutting down Murphy’s attempt to ram through his anti-gun package in the lame duck session. If Sweeney decides to end his tenure by being a good Party man, however, then there’s a good chance that most, if not all of Murphy’s anti-gun wishes will be delivered to him before the lame duck session expires in early January.