Gun control advocates say that they will consider adding a proposed increase of gun ownership fees to their legislative scorecard, something that could make it virtually impossible for legislators to reach 100%.
Fees for gun purchases in New Jersey have not increased since 1966.
On a conference call today, the leaders of several gun violence prevention advocacy groups called on legislative leaders to include the fee increase as part of the state budget. Gov. Phil Murphy had included the fee increase in his budget proposal, but legislators have removed it from the bill they are expected to vote on today.
“Some legislative leaders don’t want fees associated with gun purchases, licenses, permits to be raised from their very low and outdated, unchanged since 1966 levels,” said Bryan Miller, the executive director of Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence. “Since that time, New Jersey has suffered levels of gun violence that have caused tax payers to take on the costs of related emergent and health care, law enforcement and many other related costs – certainly running to many millions of dollars…all for the most lethal of products. It’s time gun buyers, owners and sellers took a reasonable share of costs, especially given the current budget ‘crisis.’”
The political issue here is whether the gun control groups decide to add the budget vote to their scorecard, something many candidates brandish as a badge of honor when they seek re-election. This could cause many legislators to lose their 100% rating from gun control groups.
The heads of several of the groups that endorse candidates, including Ceasefire New Jersey, the Brady Campaign/Million Mom March, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said they would consult with their national organization before determining if a legislator’s refusal to support an increase in gun ownership fees would impact endorsements in the 2019 mid-term elections.