With the newly sworn-in legislature beginning to hold its first committee meetings this week, Gov. Phil Murphy today recommitted to pushing for a package of gun safety bills that faltered in the lame duck session.
“Obviously I want to work with legislative leadership, but we’re committed to that,” he said. “We think it makes New Jersey a safer state, and we’ll do anything we can to make New Jersey a safer state.”
In his first term, Murphy successfully shepherded two major packages of gun control legislation through the legislature that implemented background checks on gun purchases, tightened requirements for handgun permits, and made personalized “smart guns” easier to obtain, among other provisions.
Last month, Murphy made a deal with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-South Amboy) to pass a third package of bills that included banning .50 caliber weapons, requiring those moving from out of state to register their guns, and mandating safe storage of firearms. Yet Murphy never seemed to get buy-in from now-former Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), who was skeptical of many of the bills.
Under Sweeney’s leadership, and with senators from both parties expressing concerns about the legislation, the package died. But Murphy has reason to hope that this legislative term may be different: following Sweeney’s shock loss to State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Swedesboro) last November, the governor will be working with a new, potentially more amenable Senate President in Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden).