A New Jersey legislative committee approved requiring gun owners to obtain liability insurance and placing restrictions on where they might carry their weapons, bringing some of the tightest US firearms restrictions one step closer to becoming law.
The vote by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee was a first step before the legislation move to the whole legislature and ultimately the governor’s desk in reaction to a US Supreme Court decision in June that authorized more widespread carrying of firearms. Dates for the actual vote have not yet been set.
Given that the Democratic-controlled legislature and Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who in July signed a number of gun control measures, support the legislation, they are very probably going to be passed into law. The laws are also likely to encounter legal challenges, as states like New York and Massachusetts have discovered in their effort to mitigate the effects of the high court.
Senate President Nick Scutari, a Democrat from Linden, stated during the hearing in Trenton on Thursday, “We believe we’re ready for it.”
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs’ Scott Bach warned lawmakers to prepare for a legal snarl, saying, “It’s going to wind up in a flaming ash heap.”
The New Jersey measures would stiffen criminal penalties for gun trafficking and mandate liability insurance for owners of firearms. Additionally, the state would outlaw carrying firearms practically anywhere, including on government property, in homeless shelters, in establishments that provide alcoholic beverages, in casinos, museums, stadiums, concert venues, and in hospitals. Without the owner’s permission, weapons would be prohibited even on private residential land.
Advocates for gun rights have slammed the proposed New Jersey law. They contend that licensed, responsible gun owners can assist in defending innocent targets during the increasingly common mass shootings, in addition to constitutional concerns.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in 2020, the number of gun-related deaths in the US increased to at least 45,222. About 53% of those fatalities were suicides, a percentage that is largely consistent from year to year. According to a Pew Research analysis, 8 out of 10 killings featured a firearm, which is the highest proportion since at least 1968. According to a June Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans want tighter gun laws.
The most populous US state, New Jersey, has a lengthy history of having governors of both parties impose gun restrictions. Residents are not permitted to openly carry firearms, and previous to the June order from the nation’s top court, permits for carrying concealed firearms were uncommon.
The state administrative office of the courts reports that 870 concealed-carry applications were submitted to New Jersey in 2021. The bureau anticipates receiving 11,000 applications this year until December.
A federal judge invalidated a portion of a New York legislation on October 21 that restricted where people might carry guns, including Times Square and public transportation. The state is contesting the judgment. On October 5, the US Supreme Court instructed a lower court to overturn a Massachusetts law that barred people who use firearms to commit offenses from owning guns for the rest of their lives.
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