It has been a busy week in Trenton, as both chambers have been passing amendments and gun bills at breakneck speed trying to wrap things up before the Legislature is forced to adjourn from this year’s legislative session after the holidays. NRA and our official state association, ANJRPC, have been diligently working against these measures since Gov. Phil Murphy announced his post-election, Holiday attack a couple of weeks ago.
As previously reported here, the Assembly acted earlier in the week, passing several anti-gun bills out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee despite being deeply flawed and poorly drafted. Today, it was the Senate’s turn. Unlike the Assembly, the Senate has shown some restraint. However, make no mistake, there is nothing in this package that is even remotely close to acceptable. New Jersey already has some of the harshest gun laws in the country, and these bills are more of the same. They focus exclusively on law-abiding citizens, and do nothing to crack down on violent criminals or improve public safety.
Events this week took a positive turn on Wednesday, when the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee shelved the mandatory storage bill, S.3757, by removing it from Thursday’s agenda. On Thursday, the Committee took action on the lone gun bill on the schedule, S.372, which requires new residents to register handguns they bring into the state. The bill was amended to remove long guns entirely and several other amendments weakened the bill even further. Nevertheless, this bill is still gun registration, and needs to be strongly opposed. NRA and ANJRPC both testified against the bill and highlighted multiple issues with the legislation. The bill passed 4-2 with all four “aye” votes seemingly acknowledging this bill has issues. The two Republicans on the Committee, Sens. Declan O’Scanlon and Anthony Bucco, Jr., argued against the bill and the haste with which these bills are being ushered through the process despite being flawed.
The Assembly has an important voting session on Monday, as they are planning to move the full slate of anti-gun bills, including .50 Cal bans, microstamping, mandatory storage (rendering self-defense obsolete), manufacturer liability, and registration, among others.
Lawmakers have reported getting “significant amounts” of emails from NRA members on these issues, and it is making a difference. Remember, a bill has to be passed by both chambers before it can go to the Governor! Even if you have already taken action, please continue sending emails. Please email your Senator and Assembly members and respectfully request a NO vote on all gun bills. This sustained campaign has made an impact!