Home>Gun Control>Concealed carry bill heads to Murphy’s desk after passing Senate

Senate President Nicholas Scutari at Gov. Phil Murphy's fiscal year 2023 budget address delivered on March 8, 2022. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Concealed carry bill heads to Murphy’s desk after passing Senate

Governor has said he’ll sign bill written in response to U.S. Supreme Court ruling

By Joey Fox, December 19 2022 5:26 pm

A major bill significantly modifying New Jersey’s concealed carry laws passed the State Senate today on a nearly party-line 21-16 vote; the bill was initially written in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision gutting state-level justifiable need restrictions for firearm permits.

The Assembly previously passed the bill in November, meaning that it will now head to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy, who has said he will sign it.

If enacted into law, the bill would significantly limit where firearms can be carried, delineating 24 expansive categories of gun-free areas; expand the disqualifying criteria for firearms permits; and require firearm permit holders to acquire liability insurance, among other provisions.

Republicans were united in their opposition to the bill, which they characterized as an unconstitutional overreach of government power and a magnet for lawsuits from pro-gun groups.

“What we do today is challenge the Supreme Court of the United States,” State Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said. “The majority today has taken an extreme step. We know we’re going to be back here to revisit.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court told us what we should have already known: the Second Amendment cannot be ignored because New Jersey’s majority party doesn’t like it,” added State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan), who has made gun rights a frequent rallying cry since being elected last year.

One Democrat, State Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen), joined Republicans in voting no, and two Democratic senators – State Sens. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City) and Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), the latter of whom is one of the bill’s sponsors – were missing from the chamber.

Every other Democrat voted yes, including more moderate and gun-friendly legislators like State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington), just barely providing the requisite 21 votes needed for the bill to pass.

“New Jersey continues to be a leader on gun safety with laws that help keep our communities safe,” Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Linden) said in a statement released after the bill passed; no Democrats spoke about the bill on the floor. “This bill will help prevent gun violence with common-sense standards to require training, promote gun safety and prevent firearms from being carried into sensitive locations.”

While many Republicans protested the bill, the discussion didn’t get nearly as personal as the Assembly debate in November. At that session, Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville) called Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-Franklin) an asshole, a remark which prompted Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) to deliver a speech last week on the importance of civility and respect.

Since he was elected in 2017, Murphy has been a strong proponent of gun control measures in New Jersey, successfully pushing three packages of gun safety bills through a hesitant legislature over the last five years. After the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision in June, he first unveiled the framework for what would eventually become the bill that passed today.

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