Murphy to sign 6 new gun-control laws Wednesday
TRENTON — A half-dozen bills designed to further tighten New Jersey’s gun control efforts were passed by the Senate Thursday and sent to Gov. Phil Murphy, who said he will sign them quickly.
The bills would set out new rules for seizing guns from people deemed to be dangerous, reduce the allowable ammunition magazine size from 15 rounds to 10, require background checks for private gun sales and put a regulation into law putting a strict threshold to be met to receive a gun-carry permit.
Murphy said on Twitter that he will sign the bills into law Wednesday.
“They’re coming my way. We’re going to sign them ASAP,” Murphy said in a New Jersey Democratic State Committee telephone town hall meeting. “So we’ll take an already strong gun-safety regime in New Jersey, particularly protecting kids, and make it even stronger.”
State Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, referenced the spate of school shootings around the country that has raised interest in gun control efforts.
“This is our response to our nation’s crisis, and I think we can be very, very proud of our response,” Codey said. “We can only do so much, though. We know that to fully attack this issue and get our schools safe again, we need national legislation.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said he hopes the pending laws make on impact on public safety.
“But the reality is that the biggest problem we have is other states. That’s the real problem,” he said.
“We’re doing our very best to send a message that we want to tighten our laws up,” Sweeney said. “But at the end of the day, there’s a lot more work than what we’re doing here. You know what I’m saying? There really is. I don’t want to give anybody any false hope.”
The bills passed by votes of 37-0, 32-5, 31-3, 30-5, 24-13 and 23-13.
While a few Republicans voted against most of the measures, and none supported the measure that reduces magazine capacity, only one spoke against the bills on the floor: state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, who said the firearms seizure bill lacks needed due process protections.
“These words – “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law” – they appear in the Constitution, they appear in the Fifth Amendment, and they appear in the Fourteenth Amendment,” Pennacchio said.
Close to 100 people from Moms Demand Action descended on the Statehouse to push for the bills’ passage Thursday.
“We are very, very pleased that this gun-bill package went through and got through very, very strongly with bipartisan support,” said Brett Sabo, the group’s New Jersey chapter lead. “I really think New Jersey is part of setting the tone for the whole country in terms of gun violence prevention and gun safety.”
Sabo said that her group, in addition to focusing on opposing federal legislation regarding concealed carry reciprocity and silencers, wants to work on safe-storage laws in New Jersey.
Sweeney said he didn’t know if more gun-related bills would be on the Statehouse agenda.
“We’ve done a lot. Listen, it’s New Jersey, who knows?” Sweeney said. “I would like to look at our gun laws and be fair to lawful gun owners, too. Because, you know, the people that aren’t breaking the law are the ones that we’re passing a lot of these laws on, to be honest with you.”