Murphy signs latest batch of N.J. laws aimed at gun control

While New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, (left), speaks, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal looks on after a bill signing ceremony in Berkeley Heights, N.J., Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Murphy has signed a measure aimed at making so-called smart guns available in the state. He also signed three other measures aimed at reining in gun violence. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

While New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, (left), speaks, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal looks on after a bill signing ceremony in Berkeley Heights, N.J., Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Murphy has signed a measure aimed at making so-called smart guns available in the state. He also signed three other measures aimed at reining in gun violence. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

New Jersey will tighten its already strict gun laws with a new set of measures aimed at reducing illegal firearms sales and curtailing gun suicides.

They are the latest laws signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, a progressive Democrat who has made gun control one of his top priorities since taking office.

“Even though we have more work to do, we must take great pride in what we are doing today,” Murphy said at a Tuesday press conference. “These new laws will continue to send the message that we take gun safety and the safety of our communities seriously in New Jersey.”

The new laws require firearms dealers and gun-range workers to be trained in suicide prevention and encourage the development of so-called smart guns.

Officials said two of the other measures will give law enforcement greater ability to crack down on straw purchasers, who illegally buy guns from people in states with less restrictive laws.

Gun rights advocates have criticized Murphy and other New Jersey Democrats for what they view as their attacking legal firearms owners by constantly revising the state’s gun laws.

But state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the new laws will help law enforcement keep New Jersey safe.

“When we get a new tool in the fight against gun violence, we will use it,” Grewal said. “We’re not afraid to use our authority against gun manufacturers, against gun distributors, or traffickers that violate our laws. Because public safety and law enforcement safety deserve nothing less.”

Murphy again called on the legislature to increase gun permit and license fees, an idea top Democratic lawmakers rejected during June budget negotiations.

Murphy also called on the state Senate to consider a bill already passed by the Assembly that would require ammunition sales to be registered with the state police.

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