Gov. Murphy puts new emphasis on New Jersey gun laws in wake of mass shootings

Gov. Phil Murphy’s most recent package of gun reform bills faces an uncertain path forward in the state Legislature, even after he successfully signed 10 others into law.
“We need to make New Jersey’s gun laws as strong as possible,” Murphy previously said. “We have common sense gun safety laws that are fully respectful of the Second Amendment.”
In his first year in office, alongside former Rep. Gabby Giffords, Murphy announced his desire to ban gun magazines holding over 10 rounds, plus background checks for gun sales by private sellers.
Weeks later, Murphy signed Gun Safety Package 1.0 into law. But he wasn’t done yet. He introduced Gun Safety Package 2.0 in the wake of a rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“We must ensure that those intent on acting on their hate through violence do not have access to guns,” Murphy said at the time.
Version 2.0 added offenses that disqualify ex-convicts from gun ownership, and upped the penalties for those who knowingly sell guns to them.
But the COVID-19 pandemic came with a spike in gun crime and another call from Murphy in 2021 to further tighten New Jersey’s gun laws. This included calls to ban .50 caliber weapons.
But those bills – Gun Safety Package 3.0 – have languished for over a year. And now the governor is calling new attention to them in the aftermath of the shooting at a Texas elementary school.
“Thoughts and prayers are worthless. Action is the only thing of value,” Murphy said after that shooting.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin signed on to the third gun control package in April. Democratic Senate President Nick Scutari has only said he "will keep an open mind" on them.