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4 Essex County Lawmakers Help Usher In NJ Gun Control Package

Patch logo Patch 7/5/2022 Eric Kiefer
Some gun rights advocates are panning a new wave of gun control laws in New Jersey. But several state lawmakers from Essex County who helped to see the bills to the finish line say they’re “commonsense” victories. © Shutterstock Some gun rights advocates are panning a new wave of gun control laws in New Jersey. But several state lawmakers from Essex County who helped to see the bills to the finish line say they’re “commonsense” victories.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Some gun rights advocates are steaming mad about a new wave of gun control laws in New Jersey that got the green light from Gov. Phil Murphy. But several lawmakers from Essex County who helped to see the bills to the finish line say they’re “commonsense” victories for the Garden State.

On Tuesday, Murphy signed seven controversial gun control bills into law. Read More: NJ Beefs Up Gun Laws After String Of U.S. Mass Shootings

The new laws will prohibit .50 caliber rifles, increase penalties for crimes related to manufacturing and constructing ghost guns, limit the legal use of body armor to mostly law enforcement and armed services, regulate handgun-ammunition sales, require gun retailers to sell microstamping-enabled firearms, make safety training mandatory to purchase a firearm, and require out-of-state residents who relocate to New Jersey to obtain an ID card and register their weapon with law enforcement.

Four Democratic lawmakers who represent towns in Essex County sponsored key bills in the package: former governor, Sen. Richard Codey (District 27), Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (District 29), Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (District 27), and Assemblyman John McKeon (District 27).

Here’s who was behind the new laws:

  • A1765/S1893 (McKeon, Atkins, Jasey/Ruiz, Pou) - Allows Attorney General to bring cause of action for certain public nuisance violations arising from sale or marketing of firearms.
  • A1179/S1204 (Jasey, Swain, Jaffer/Cryan, Zwicker) - Requires firearm owners who become New Jersey residents to obtain firearm purchaser identification card and register handguns acquired out-of-State.
  • A4367/S2846 (McKeon, Greenwald/Scutari, Cryan) - Upgrades certain crimes related to manufacturing firearms from third degree to second degree.
  • A4366/S2905 (Atkins, Quijano/Scutari) – Revises definition of destructive device to include certain .50 caliber rifles.
  • A1302/S2903 (Greenwald, Reynolds-Jackson, Atkins/Cryan) - Regulates sale of handgun ammunition and develops system of electronic reporting of handgun ammunition sales.*
  • A4370/S2906 (Reynolds-Jackson, Greenwald/Codey) - Requires training for issuance of firearms purchaser identification card and permit to purchase handgun under certain circumstances; provides that firearms purchaser identification card include photograph and thumb print and remain valid for ten years.
  • A4368/S2907 (Greenwald, McKeon/Codey) - Requires firearm retailers to sell microstamping-enabled firearms upon determination of availability by AG.

CRITICS: ‘THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY’

Gun rights advocates ripped the new laws, saying they’ll do little to curb violence despite infringing on Second Amendment protections – even after last month’s landmark decision from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding concealed carry rights. Read More: Murphy Wants To Ban Guns In These Places After Supreme Court Ruling

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) called the state’s third gun package an “abject failure” – just like the previous two.

“This has never been about public safety, and gun owner concerns on these bills were resoundingly dismissed,” the group said.

According to the NRA-ILA:

“Legislators were challenged to point to a single case in New Jersey where a .50 cal was used in the commission of a crime - no examples were offered. It was also pointed out that not a single state has been able to implement microstamping because the technology is not feasible. Anti-gun politicians ignored these issues and moved forward with more gun bans, registration, and onerous requirements simply to possess a firearm.”

Video: Gun control: NJ demonstrates microstamping technology (ABC 7 New York)

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The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs also panned the new laws.

“All of the bills target the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and none of them provide for the severe punishment of gun criminals or impact mental health issues related to firearms ownership,” the group charged.

The new laws also got a big thumbs-down from the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.

“These insane proposals will do absolutely nothing to reduce crime, but only target law-abiding citizens,” the group stated in June, before the bills went up for a vote.

SUPPORTERS: ‘PASSING COMMONSENSE GUN SAFETY LAWS’

Supporters of the new laws cheered Tuesday’s signing, however, including Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, an East Orange native.

“In New Jersey, we understand what it takes to actually stop the vicious cycle of mass shootings and everyday gun violence,” Oliver said. “We do it by passing commonsense gun safety laws that work.”

Other support for the new laws came from:

Sen. Codey on training, microstamping – “As we have all seen recently, gun violence is a real and scary risk in our country and we have to act now to stop it. We must ensure that gun owners are aware of how to safely handle and store a firearm to better protect our residents from unnecessary harm. Additionally, by incorporating microstamping technology, law enforcement would have a critical aid that would assist them in tracking down weapons used in crimes. We have to do all that we can on God’s green Earth to stop these shootings from occurring. Everyone needs to be held accountable, and if you misuse a firearm, you shouldn’t be able to get away with it.”

Sen. Ruiz on suing gun manufacturers – “Far too many families have been torn apart by gun violence. We cannot stand by and accept the fact that firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. While we desperately need federal legislation, this measure will allow the state Attorney General to take action and seek damages for shootings here in New Jersey. We must do everything we can to stop this, which starts with holding those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Assemblywoman Jasey on firearm registration – “Just as residents are required to register their vehicles with New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission when they first move here, gun owners will now be held to the same standards. This commonsense law will ensure that every legally-obtained gun is registered in our state to promote greater safety in our communities.”

Assemblyman McKeon on out-of-state gun purchases – “In New Jersey, almost 80 percent of guns used in crimes are originally purchased outside of the state. The gun industry has made little effort to help stem the flow of guns to the illegal market through gun shows, flea markets, straw purchasers, and theft. The industry, essentially, has not taken responsibility for its part in the increasing gun violence and its influence through product marketing. Gun violence is a public health threat. New Jersey must have the ability to seek appropriate remedies against members of the gun industry who knowingly or recklessly endanger the public health and safety. No one should get a pass when lives are on the line.”

This article contains reporting by Josh Bakan, Patch staff

Send local news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.

The article 4 Essex County Lawmakers Help Usher In NJ Gun Control Package appeared first on Montclair Patch.

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