A month after Gov. Phil Murphy made a renewed plea for the state legislature to pass his third package of gun control legislation, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will vote tomorrow on nine gun bills – but interestingly, only four of them are from the governor’s original package, while the other five were introduced just yesterday.
The eight bills in the governor’s initial package were unveiled last April, but they failed to make much headway in the legislature, especially in the Senate. All eight were re-introduced at the beginning of this legislative session, and received increased attention when Murphy held an impassioned press conference calling for stricter gun laws the day after the Uvalde school shooting.
“As an American, I am outraged and I am exhausted,” Murphy said in May. “Congress has failed to lead time and time and time again, so it’s up to us to do the job others are too weak to do… This moment demands that the legislature finally take action.”
Four of Murphy’s bills are up for a vote tomorrow: A509, which raises the age limit for purchasing and possessing firearms from 18 to 21 in most cases; A1179, which requires those moving from out-of-state to obtain a firearm purchaser identification card (FPIC) and register their handguns; A1302, which puts new regulations on ammunition sales; and A1765, which allows the attorney general to take legal action against firearm manufacturers and retailers.
A fifth bill from the package that was initially up for a vote in tomorrow’s meeting – A2215, the “New Jersey Safe Storage of Firearms Act” – was removed from the board list yesterday, as noted by Politico NJ’s Daniel Han.
As for the five bills that aren’t officially part of the governor’s package, three are amended versions of existing Murphy-backed bills: A4366, which prohibits most .50 caliber weapons (similar to S1416); A4368, which requires retailers to sell microstamped firearms once they are approved and determined to be commercially available by the attorney general (similar to A2216); and A4370, which requires firearm training for FPIC applicants and makes FPIC holders renew their cards every four years (similar to A993).
Finally, two bills are completely new: A4367, which upgrades several firearm-related offenses (including manufacturing a firearm with a 3D printer, manufacturing an undetectable firearm, buying parts to manufacture a firearm without a serial number, and transporting a firearm without a serial number) from third degree crimes to second degree crimes, and A4369, which limits who can possess body armor and requires registration for those who do possess it.
All five new bills were introduced concurrently with Senate equivalents, signaling a clear cross-chamber effort to get gun legislation onto the governor’s desk before legislators depart for the summer at the end of next week. A spokesperson for the governor did not directly say whether the bills were crafted in consultation with the governor’s office.