In what the New York Times is calling a “novel gun control strategy,” New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy signed an executive order this week prohibiting state agencies from doing business with gun retailers and manufacturers that do not adhere to a vaguely-worded set of gun control measures outlined in the order.
He also prohibited state agencies from doing business with banks and financial institutions that have not “adopted any code of conduct or principles related to gun safety or responsible sales of firearms.”
“New Jersey has committed to a whole-of-government approach to tackle gun violence,” Murphy said in a press release. “I have signed comprehensive, commonsense gun safety and gun-violence intervention legislation, and now, under this executive order, my Administration is committed to making our communities safer by aiming to do business with gun dealers that have adopted best practices to reduce gun violence.”
Murphy’s executive order directs the state’s Division of Purchase and Property to investigate whether the companies from which it purchases firearms and ammunition adhere to “public safety principles related to firearms.”
For retailers, these principles include policies to
- prevent, detect, and screen for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers or firearm traffickers;
- prevent sales to prohibited individuals;
- protect against the theft of firearms and ammunition;
- train vendor employees and have reasonable employment policies designed to ensure maximum compliance with the law;
- assist law enforcement in the investigation and prevention of criminal access to guns;
- and promote public safety.
Firearm and ammunition manufacturers will be required to prove that they have “standards for retail dealers” that adhere to the same list of principles.
The New York Times reported that by “prohibited individuals,” the governor means the expanded list of persons used by New Jersey firearms retailers. Unlike federal requirements, this list also includes those convicted of domestic abuse, any violent crime, drug dealing, and anyone on a terrorist watchlist.
The order fails to explain how retailers and manufacturers will prove that they adhere to any of these requirements, though the Times also reported that officials will provide a specific set of guidelines within the next 30 days that “would likely be shaped by measures supported by gun control groups.”
The order also instructs state regulatory agencies to crack down on banks and financial institutions that have not adopted “any code of conduct or principles related to gun safety or responsible sales of firearms.”
Murphy does not specify what “conduct or principles” the Treasurer will be looking for, but if regulators take companies like Citibank as a model, it could include prohibiting sales of “high-capacity magazines” and all firearms sales to individuals under age 21.
Finally, Murphy instructs the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance to prohibit the sale, procurement, marketing or distribution of insurance products that “may serve to encourage the improper use of firearms.”
SEE ALSO: New Jersey Governor Proposes $400 Carry Permits, $100 Firearm ID Cards, $50 Handgun Purchase Permits
The order (again) fails to define “improper use of firearms,” but it may be used to restrict the sale of insurance for those who carry concealed firearms. Just last week, Murphy’s Department of Banking and Insurance secured a $1 million fine from a company that backed the National Rifle Association’s Carry Guard insurance.
Pro-gun groups in New Jersey argue that the governor’s order could put the lives of police officers in danger if they aren’t able to access the necessary equipment.
“If they’re going to put police officers’ lives in danger because of politics, that’s on the governor, not on the gun industry,” Alex Roubian, the president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, told the Times.
The order goes into effect immediately. It applies to state troopers, prosecutor offices and local law enforcement agencies that make purchases through the state. It does not apply to municipal police departments that purchase equipment directly from manufacturers.