BERKELEY HEIGHTS – Governor Phil Murphy today signed a package of commonsense gun safety bills that reaffirm New Jersey’s commitment to institute the strongest gun laws in the nation. The bills, which are part of Gun Safety Package 2.0, follow a series of comprehensive gun safety laws signed by Governor Murphy in 2018. The four bills signed today will promote smart gun technology, expand the list of crimes that disqualify a person from gun ownership, strengthen anti-gun trafficking laws, and support suicide prevention efforts.
Governor Murphy also highlighted the importance of comprehensive ammunition reform and reinforced his support for a bill requiring identification to buy ammunition and registering sales with the State Police. The bill, which has already passed the Assembly, has yet to be advanced for a vote in the Senate.
“The scourge of gun violence is a pervasive problem that affects our entire nation,” said Governor Murphy. “I am proud to work with our legislators to implement some of the toughest gun laws in the country to protect our residents and make our communities safer for all. We see the results of our work by having among the lowest rates of gun-related deaths nationwide. With every step, New Jersey is proving that commonsense gun safety laws work.”
“The bills that Governor Murphy signed into law today give our law enforcement officers new tools to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and to combat illegal firearms trafficking,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “As New Jersey’s chief law enforcement officer, I am committed to using these laws to protect the public and law enforcement from the continuing epidemic of gun violence. Our message to gun traffickers, distributors, and even manufacturers has been clear from day one: we will hold you accountable when you violate our laws.”
The Governor signed the following four bills into law:
“I am glad to have joined Governor Murphy and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald in combatting the gun violence crisis in our state and in our country," said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. "We can’t wait around for national action, we have to do what we can now to make our communities safer. This is why we created this responsible gun safety legislation and why we will continue to fight for even greater measures in the future.”
“We know that access to lethal means of suicide – especially firearms – result in higher rates of death, especially among young people," said Senator Joe Cryan. "Almost 60 percent of all violent deaths are by suicide and the most common method is by self-inflicted gunshot. This tragic loss of life can and must be addressed with actions that focus on prevention. This new law will develop suicide prevention materials that will be put into the hands of gun dealers and those who operate shooting ranges and used to create training courses that promote safety. This is a proactive way to save lives.”
“If someone has been banned from owning a firearm, it is for a legitimate reason – they could be a danger to themselves or others if they were to be armed,” said Senator Troy Singleton. “This new law will further discourage dangerous individuals from attempting to obtain a firearm unlawfully.”
“New Jersey has done a lot to address the national epidemic of gun violence," said Senator Richard Codey. "Technology will now allow us to sell personalized handguns that will only shoot if they are in the hands of the owner. This is a major achievement that will enable us to do more to curb gun violence in New Jersey. We should use this technology to help keep citizens safe from the dangers of handguns in the hands of those who are a threat to themselves or others. I applaud the governor for signing this into law.”
“We must do everything we can to crack down on the illegal gun market and the possession of unmarked guns,” said Senator Linda Greenstein. “This legislation will ensure we are not only punishing the individuals manufacturing unmarked guns but also those facilitating their distribution or purchasing them.”
"Balancing gun rights and reasonable, effective restrictions is a goal we must strive to attain," said Senator Declan O'Scanlon. "This new law will serve as a deterrent that will prevent people who are disqualified from owning or purchasing a firearm in New Jersey from trying to circumvent our state's stringent permitting and background check processes."
“We’ve seen far too many senseless deaths because of handguns accidentally getting in the hands of children. The technology exists to curb this possibility,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson. “Current law is intended to encourage the development of smart gun technology, but the prohibition on other handguns has, in effect, restricted consumer access to personalized handguns. This legislation will help our state to create a reasonable approach to improving gun safety, especially for children.”
“Smart gun technology was created to increase the safety of our children and others when someone’s firearm falls into the wrong hands,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. “This legislation gets New Jersey ready for the increased development and availability of childproof handguns. It ensures handgun owners have access to personalized firearm options that would be available in other states.”
“Personalized handguns mean improved gun safety for owners and their families,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “We can reduce unnecessary gun violence involving children with smart steps such as preparing for this new technology.”
“Since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, we have revised our laws in New Jersey, restricting large capacity weapons and ghost guns from getting into the wrong hands, to reduce the scourge of gun violence plaguing our cities,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. “To address the mental health aspect of gun violence, we engaged our community and hospital partners to help victims and their families work through their trauma and break the cycle of violence. These new bills will ensure that law enforcement, state entities, and gun store owners will work together to reduce gun crimes and gun trafficking in our communities.”
"More than a thousand New Jersey residents are shot every year," said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson. "By requiring gun owners to have firearm IDs, we will be able to find out how these guns are getting into the hands of criminals by tracking each gun and all ammo to the point of sale."
“Guns move far too easily between states through gun trafficking and unlawful straw purchases,” said Assemblyman Chris Tully. “No one should purchase a firearm to sell to an individual who is unqualified for a gun license.”
“Gun violence in our communities has claimed too many lives,” said Assemblywoman Lisa Swain. “Stronger regulations on straw purchasing in New Jersey can help keep firearms out of the wrong hands. This bill along with the other gun violence prevention measures which cleared the Assembly will work together to end this practice.
“In 2016, over one third of all gun deaths in New Jersey were suicides,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “That’s an incredibly alarming number, and it’s time for us to take action. Educating firearm dealers on suicide prevention and distributing informational materials at gun ranges and firearm retail stores will hopefully raises awareness and prevent future crises.”
“As we work to combat suicide in our state, it’s important that we encourage firearm retailers to recognize the signs of someone in trouble,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “It may be enough to save someone’s life, and help them get the assistance they need.”
“Providing suicide prevention training to firearm retailers creates the opportunity for intervention before these preventable tragedies occur,” said Assemblyman Gary Schaer. “In 2016, almost 200 people used a firearm to take their own lives in New Jersey. If this training is able to help just one person, it will be an unqualified success for the people of New Jersey.”
“Under Governor Murphy, New Jersey once again is strengthening our gun violence prevention laws and, unlike Washington, is committed to advancing real reforms to confront this crisis,” said Bill Castner, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Gun Safety.
New Jersey has long been a leader in gun violence prevention, and today is no different,” said Brett Sabo, volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We applaud Governor Murphy and the legislature for their ongoing commitment to reduce gun violence in all its complex forms.”