Gov. Murphy proposes ambitious new gun control, safety measures

Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled what he called a sweeping package of gun control legislation and programs.

News 12 Staff

Apr 15, 2021, 8:30 PM

Updated 1,130 days ago


Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled what he called a sweeping package of gun control legislation and programs.
The governor unveiled the measures Thursday during a rally-like event at a community center in Newark.
Designed to address ongoing gun violence afflicting cities like Newark, Camden, and Trenton, the plan includes $10 million in funding to expand violence interruption efforts.
“Let’s stop this nonsense. But if it’s going to be addressed, it has to be addressed by us,” said Lt. Gov. Shelia Oliver. “We know who is out there on the corner selling drugs.”
The measures include a proposal to raise the purchasing age for long guns to 21 from 18, mandating firearms safety courses before purchasing a gun, and making people who move into New Jersey re-register their firearms.
The state Legislature will weigh in on most of the measures. In a sign of legislative support, influential state lawmakers like state Sen. Teresa Ruiz and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald attended the event and spoke.
But some Republican lawmakers are not on board with the legislation.
“This is feel-good progressive government. Feel good stuff. It’s not going to make a difference,” says Republican Assemblyman Hal Wirths.
Wirths says that Murphy’s actions will mostly impact legal gun owners.
“These laws are strictly going to impact the people who are already obeying the law. The gang bangers and the people shooting up the country, they're not going to care,” Wirths says. “You could pass 100 laws and they’re still going to go on to commit crimes with illegal weapons.”
The governor and State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan say they will also work to stop the flow of guns from other states where gun laws are laxer than in New Jersey. The majority of the guns used in crimes in New Jersey come from those states.
Senate President Steve Sweeney declined comment on the governor's initiative. In 2019, Sweeney blocked bills that would have electronically recorded ammunition sales and raised gun license fees.
The governor said that the event was not related to recent mass shootings in Georgia or Texas, but instead a response to rising gun violence in New Jersey cities.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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