N.J. strictly overhauls concealed carry gun restrictions as Murphy signs law. Firearm groups sue.

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Governor Phil Murphy said on Thursday that a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will overhaul and severely limit how and where a handgun can be legally carried concealed in New Jersey, which has been thoroughly debated. signed the law. Obtain an import permit.

Law (A4769) prohibits people from carrying firearms in a wide range of “sensitive areas” in the state. This includes schools, courts, day care centers, nursing homes, polling stations, government buildings, hospitals, bars and restaurants serving alcohol, airports, parks, beaches, demonstrations, cinemas, casinos and other entertainment venues. will be

The bill also prohibits carrying guns on private property unless the owner allows it. This includes houses, shopping centers, supermarkets and churches.

Additionally, the law raises the price for owning a gun in the state, raises various fees, and requires anyone trying to get a carry permit to take out liability insurance and take a training course that costs hundreds of dollars. You must attend.

But this is not the end of the problem. New Jersey is set to fight in court just as New York did over a similar law. On Thursday, two gun rights groups announced they were suing states to block the move.

Murphy, a Democrat, argued that more gun ownership would keep people safer, two months after the bill was introduced and three months after it was introduced by the Democratic-controlled state Senate. signed days later.

Despite opposition from Republicans and gun rights advocates, the bill passed. They argue that guns are unconstitutional, irrational, and so pervasive that once they leave their homes, they are barred from carrying them in most places, even after they have paid and been trained. doing.

“We are obligated to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling, but we are also obligated to do everything we can to keep guns from spreading in our communities, consistent with that ruling.” Red t-shirt Many members of Mums Demand Action wore it, visiting a library in Scotch Plains in front of dozens of gun-safety advocates.

“Doing nothing and allowing blindly hidden weapons to every corner of our community does not make us any safer,” he added.

For decades, New Jersey has had some of the strictest concealed carry restrictions in the country, making it nearly impossible for anyone but a retired law enforcement officer to obtain a carry permit. Previously, you had to prove a “legitimate need” to carry a handgun in New Jersey.

Then, in June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling known as the Bruen decision that effectively nullified the strict concealed carry restrictions in states such as New York and New Jersey.

Murphy, who signed several gun safety measures over the past five years, called on the state legislature to send the bill. His supporters say bystanders get hurt even when people use guns for self-defense.

The governor on Thursday criticized the Supreme Court’s “right-wing majority” for a “tragic and misguided decision.”

Murphy pointed to a brawl that broke out during a football game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in September.

“If those people were armed, things would have been better,” he said.

The state Senate voted roughly 21 to 16 along party lines to pass the bill on Monday. The state legislature passed the bill last month by a narrow margin of 42 to 29, in line with the party’s line.

No Republican lawmakers supported the bill. One Democrat, Hudson County Sen. Nicholas Sacco, voted against it, saying he believed it was unconstitutional.

Critics say the law goes against the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court, criminals will ignore the rules, and people will be unable to defend themselves if attacked. They also note that the required insurance is not available in New Jersey.

Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) said in a statement on Monday, “It is disappointing that the Democratic majority does not work with the Republican Party to ensure that concealed firearms can be managed in a safe, rational and constitutional manner. It is.”

“Instead, they modeled themselves on the extreme and patently unconstitutional New York law that federal judges have already ruled against with new insurance requirements that may be impossible to meet.” It is an over-the-top attempt by Democrats to see how far the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling can be rolled back while imposing even greater restrictions on owners.”

A new law increased the handgun license application fee in New Jersey from $2 (in effect since 1966) to $25. Also, the state import permit fee will increase from $50 to $200.

“It’s no longer cheaper to get a permit to buy a handgun than it is to get a pet license,” Murphy said.

Applicants must also pay for their own training and insurance.

People who bring guns into prohibited areas now face three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

The law allows several persons, including law enforcement officers, members of the armed forces, prosecutors, and judges, to carry into sensitive areas by regulation.

Murphy has been accused of felony convictions, domestic violence-related restraining orders, committed mental health problems, wanted in other states for criminal activity, and said those who said they had committed a criminal act could not obtain carry permits. I want to inflict harm with my weapon.

Additionally, the law does not change existing state laws that require firearms and ammunition to be kept in separate cases and guns locked in the trunk of a vehicle.

The Sensitive Locations Policy takes effect immediately. The rest of the law will be phased in over the next seven months.

The Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs of New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday seeking to stay the law and seek an injunction to stop it from taking effect as the case progresses. It argued that the law “blatantly and willfully obstructs” both the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s rulings.

“Not only will this bill go up in flames, but the Murphy administration will ultimately end up paying very large legal fees for gun owners,” said Scott Bach, executive director of ANJRPC, in a statement. rice field.

The Second Amendment Foundation filed a similar federal lawsuit on Thursday. SAF founder and vice president Alan Gottlieb said the law “literally criminalizes licensed concealed cell phones everywhere and mocks the right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment.” said.

“Despite clear directives on citizens’ right to bear arms, New Jersey continues to snort at citizens’ constitutional rights in the name of ‘safety,'” Gottlib added.

New York’s cleanup bill for a Supreme Court decision has been stuck in legal ambiguity after a federal judge ruled in November that key provisions were unconstitutional.

New Jersey law includes a provision that if part of it is overturned, the rest remains intact.

Democrats believe the law will take effect in court.Attorney General Matthew Platkin said it was “common sense” and “consistent with the Second Amendment.”

“If there is a challenge, we are ready to defend it,” added Platkin.

He called the law “a bold move” to protect both residents and law enforcement.

“If there’s a fight in a bar and someone has a gun, or a road rage incident turns violent, who’s in the middle? The guy in blue,” Platkin said. said.

Several law enforcement unions supported the action.

In a television interview on Wednesday, Murphy admitted the issue was “tricky,” saying the state had already taken steps to curtail guns used in crime in New Jersey, about 80% of which had gone to other states. He argued that the law would give residents a sense of security.

“I want to go to a church, a temple, a mosque, but I don’t know if anyone in the worshiping crowd has a gun?” Murphy asked during an appearance on News 12 New Jersey.

The governor was also asked about the underside of the argument that some people may feel safer with their guns aside in the wake of rising anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents.

“We’ve been doing this differently,” Murphy said. “We have spent a lot of money to strengthen our goals[such as religious schools]. We have budgeted for security guards. let’s go.”

Federal data points to states with lax permitting laws, like Mississippi, which has the lowest number of gun deaths, and concealed cell bans are needed to stem gun violence in New Jersey. proponents argue that is important. .

Opponents counter that Massachusetts’ permit system, which has an even lower per capita gun death rate than New Jersey’s, is looser than the one proposed here. It says the list of locations where it is being done is so extensive that it leads to confusion and arrests for law-abiding gun owners.

“The question is what state do we want to be in?” Murphy asked Thursday. “I wish we never had to sign this bill, but this is the moment we found ourselves.”

NJ Advance Media Staff Writer SP Sullivan Contributed to this report.

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Brent Johnson can reach bjohnson@njadvancemedia.comfollow him @johnsb01.

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