Home>Governor>Murphy will seek to expand gun-free areas in response to Supreme Court decision

State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan (left), acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, and Gov. Phil Murphy at a press conference responding to the Supreme Court's concealed carry decision. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Murphy will seek to expand gun-free areas in response to Supreme Court decision

Platkin says he does not believe pending gun bills will be affected by court’s ruling

By Joey Fox, June 24 2022 1:45 pm

Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision yesterday striking down New York’s concealed carry law, Gov. Phil Murphy and acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said today that, with some of New Jersey’s own firearm restrictions nullified, they will seek to significantly limit where guns can be carried within the state.

To that end, Murphy signed an executive order that directs state agencies to review what steps they can take to mitigate gun violence within their jurisdictions. He also said he’ll pursue legislation to make a wide swath of places – including crowded areas like restaurants and stadiums, government buildings, public transit, polling places, places with vulnerable populations like hospitals and nursing homes, and private property without the permission of the owner – gun-free.

“To be clear: [the Supreme Court’s] decision will not make us safer,” Murphy said. “A right to carry a concealed weapon is, in actuality, a recipe for tragedy. Moreover, it is not in line with our longstanding New Jersey values… This decision runs roughshod over those values.”

As Platkin made clear, the Supreme Court’s ruling does not mean anyone can suddenly carry concealed guns – they still have to follow the state’s permitting process. The ruling affects the state’s justifiable need requirement, but “it does not change any other aspect of New Jersey’s public carry law,” Platkin said in a statement.

Additionally, the state legislature had already been working through a major package of gun legislation this week, spurred by recent mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo; the bills are expected to come up for a full legislative vote next week. According to both Murphy and Platkin, none of the bills are likely to be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“As it relates to gun laws more broadly, the Supreme Court left a lot of gray,” Platkin said. “We believe every gun law that we have, and every gun law that the governor and the legislature are considering now, is entirely defensible under the 2nd Amendment, including under the Bruen decision.”

With legislators set to begin their summer recess next Friday, Murphy implied that he’s open to keeping the legislature in session to address gun legislation as well as the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“On [a special session]: to be determined,” Murphy said. “Bear with us on what exactly the timeframe looks like, but … I’m highly confident that we’ll make progress in a timely manner.”

Given that the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which eliminates the constitutional right to abortion, only came out this morning, neither Murphy nor Platkin had details about what they may do in response. Both said that they will be sharing more plans in the coming days.

Back when a draft of the Dobbs decision was leaked in May, Murphy held a press conference announcing that he would push for a significant expansion of abortion access in New Jersey. The bill to do that was finally posted in the legislature earlier this week, but there’s not much indication it has the votes to pass.

“I signed historic legislation in January codifying a woman’s right to abortion into state law,” Murphy said today. “I am prepared to take whatever action I can to secure a woman’s full bodily autonomy and expand access to reproductive freedom.”

But regardless of what he and the state legislature may do, Murphy said the most important way that New Jersey residents can respond to the Supreme Court’s decisions is by voting, especially in the state’s competitive races like the 7th congressional district.

“Elections have consequences, and sadly we are living with the carnage of those consequences in the past two days,” Murphy said. “To everybody out there: get off your rear end, get your hands out from under you, stand up, get out, scream from the highest mountains, and vote.”

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