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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks during his Saturday, April 18, 2020, press conference at War Memorial in Trenton, NJ, on the State’s response to the coronavirus. (Photo: Pool by Thomas Costello for Gannett)

Murphy proposes a series of new gun control measures

Governor wants to enhance New Jersey’s gun control laws, which already number among the strongest in the nation

By Nikita Biryukov, April 15 2021 1:07 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced a series of new gun control proposals meant to curb gun violence in New Jersey cities that include measures raising the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 and banning some large-caliber weapons.

The proposals would bar 18, 19 and 20-year-olds from purchasing rifles and shotguns, ban .50 caliber firearms and require firearm owners moving into New Jersey from another state to obtain a firearm purchaser ID card and register their guns within 30 days of their move, among other things.

“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. “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.”

Another proposed bill would require gun owners keep their firearms in secured storage. The Assembly advanced that bill in the previous legislative session, but it never made it to the governor’s desk.

Murphy also wants to overhaul the way the state tracks ammunition sales by requiring vendors and manufacturers or handgun ammunition to maintain electronic sales records and report them to the New Jersey State Police. He also proposed requiring handgun manufacturers to adopt microstamping technology that could be used by law enforcement to quickly link cartridge casings to a given weapon.

“New Jersey law enforcement is always seeking ways to prevent gun violence before it happens, and the best way to accomplish this goal is through community-driven strategies where law enforcement work hand-in-hand with local government, faith-based leaders, and members of the community to create meaningful intervention programs,” said Col. Patrick J. Callahan, acting superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

New Jersey already boasts some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation, and while Republicans are likely to use the new proposals as a rallying cry ahead of this year’s legislative and gubernatorial elections, it’s not likely to win them any ground in most of the state’s legislative districts.

The governor proposed providing an additional $10 million in funding for violence intervention strategies in this year’s budget. He also wants to give $2 million to Rutgers University’s Gun Violence Research Center.

“Everyday gun violence is a constant burden and threat to the public health and well-being of our communities. To solve this problem, we need actions that are informed by research and data,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. “The Gun Safety Package that Governor Murphy has set forth today lays the groundwork for interventions and programs that are designed to save lives and are backed by the necessary funding to help them succeed.”

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