Amid a spate of mass shootings and Democrats' talk of new gun laws, New Jersey Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy stepped forward with a proposal of 8 new restrictions, including moving up the age from 18 to 21 to purchase long guns and banning .50-caliber firearms.
"Half of New Jersey's gun homicides occur in only five cities, and the number of gun crimes in these cities has skyrocketed over the last year," Murphy said in a statement announcing the proposals. "We cannot sit back when we know there is more to do to address the danger of gun violence in our communities. By taking the steps we are announcing today, we will further commit to making every block and every street in our state safer."
The bill will provide $10 million in violence intervention funding and give $2 million more for the Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University in fiscal year 2022.
Among the gun restrictions:
- Requiring firearm safety training
- Mandating safe storage of firearms
- Raising minimum age to purchase long guns to 21
- Promoting microstamping technology
- Establishing electronic ammunition sales recordkeeping
- Banning .50-caliber firearms
- Closing loophole for importing out-of-state firearms
- Holding the gun industry accountable
Second Amendment advocates frequently note violent gun criminals do not follow existing laws, and new gun control measures will merely restrict the constitutional freedoms of law-abiding citizens.
"Unfortunately, these proposals are more preoccupied with the micro-management of law-abiding firearms owners (who are not the problem) than punishment or deterrence of gun criminals," Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs Executive Director Scott Bach wrote in an email to NJ.com.
New Jersey already has a red flag law for gun violence protective orders; criminalized firearms trafficking; strengthened background checks; reduced the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines; banned "ghost guns;" and established the Rutgers GVRC to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis.
Many of those measures were covered in President Joe Biden's latest national proposal of 6 new guns laws.
"The measures that Gov. Murphy and partners in the legislature are unveiling today would give us new tools and resources to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, to combat illegal firearms trafficking, and to expand our violence intervention program," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal wrote in a statement. "These tools are essential to ensuring that New Jersey continues to do all that it can do to combat the continuing plague of gun violence.
"As New Jersey's chief law enforcement officer, my message to gun traffickers, distributors, and even manufacturers has been clear from Day One: We will hold you accountable when you violate our laws."
Another New Jersey gun-control advocate, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., reintroduced the Keep Americans Safe Act this week, renewing a concerted effort to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, claiming "high-capacity magazines are designed for shooting and killing en masse and have been the accessory of choice in some of the bloodiest mass shootings in America."
"We can no longer afford to do nothing as the scourge of gun violence continues to ravage communities across the country, and must address this as the real emergency that it is," Menendez wrote in a statement reintroducing the legislation.
In 2019, more than 39,700 Americans died from gun violence, which represents over 3,300 gun deaths each month, over 763 gun deaths a week, and nearly 109 people are killed with guns every day, according to Menendez's release.
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