Some New Jersey legislators say the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn. likely will lead them to consider tougher gun control legislation in what is already considered one of the strictest gun law states in the country.
But opponents of any changes are already lining up against moves to impose new restrictions, according to the Bergen Country Record
, and may mount a counter-push calling for a rollback of some laws and clarifications on others.
Nonetheless, Gov. Chris Christie has called for broader discussion on ways to reduce violence in the state, which is expected to include gun control issues, according to the Record. Christie has called for better support and enforcement of existing laws.
State Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, meanwhile, says the shooting of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14 could be a "pivotal point" that leads to even tougher laws in New Jersey, according to the Record.
“There hasn’t been the urgency because we have been somewhat comforted by the fact that we have pretty good gun laws in New Jersey,” she said. “But we do have a few gaps, and I’m thinking about legislation that will close some of the gaps.”
The state has been designated by the Brady Campaign on gun control as the second toughest in the nation for a variety of reasons. For example, gun owners must buy separate permits for handguns and long guns. Both require a criminal background check, and people who are convicted of most felonies or misdemeanor domestic violence offenses are not allowed to get permits.
New Jersey also has a two-week waiting period between applying for a permit and purchasing a gun, and people are only allowed to buy one handgun a month.
Concealed carry permits are even more difficult to come by in the state. Residents must persuade a judge they have a justifiable reason for carrying a gun, which cannot include carrying for home defense purposes, the Record reported.
There have several bills introduced in recent years to make the state's gun control efforts ever more strict, but they went nowhere. They included a ban on high-capacity magazines, tougher training and education requirements, and prohibitions on certain convicted felons to keep them from buying ammunition.
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