N.J. Gov. Murphy urges lawmakers to pass stricter gun control reform by Jan. 10

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during his 2021 budget address

In this Aug. 25, 2020, file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during his 2021 budget address at SHI Stadium at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Thursday New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged state lawmakers to pass stricter gun control legislation before the current legislative session ends next January.

Though New Jersey has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, Murphy said the state has more work to do in response to rising gun violence in cities like Trenton and Paterson.

His remarks came just two days after a mass shooting at a Michigan high school claimed the lives of four students, and injured nearly a half dozen more students and staff.

“Those children should all be alive today. Their peers should not be dealing with the aftereffects of their schools, hallways being in a gunman’s crosshairs,” Murphy said.

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The governor supports proposals that would ban .50 caliber firearms; require gun safety classes for anyone seeking a gun permit; mandate that gun owners store their firearms in a gun safe or lock box; obligate gun owners who move to New Jersey from other states to register for firearm purchaser ID card and register their firearms within 30 days of moving to the state; and require manufacturers or dealers of handgun ammunition to keep a detailed electronic record of ammunition sales, and report ammunition sales to the State Police.

He also threw his support behind microstamping technology, which links firearm cartridge casings found at the scene of a crime to a specific firearm, without having to recover the firearm itself.

“This is not an attack on the Second Amendment. This is common sense gun safety laws,” Murphy said.

But some Republican officials and gun rights advocates don’t see it that way.

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“The timing is intended to further tighten gun restrictions on law-abiding residents as quickly as possible, giving opponents little to no time to be heard,” said Sen. Mike Testa (R-1). “There are dozens of bills awaiting action in both houses of the Legislature that would do more to fight crime and make New Jersey communities safer for everyone. This isn’t about public safety. It’s about his ultimate goal of taking guns away from the very residents who follow our laws.”

Alejandro Roubian, President of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, called Murphy’s outline “appalling.”

“These measures are being put in place to increase the cost of gun ownership, to specifically target the minority and low-income community and make it more difficult, more cumbersome and more expensive for them to be able to own a firearm for self-defense,” Roubian said.

Murphy had previously acknowledged that half of the state’s gun violence happens in about five cities — many in lower income communities of color, like Trenton and Paterson.

Many of Murphy’s proposals have been introduced in the state legislature over the last two years, but they have not seen much movement in either chamber.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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