New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Tuesday that forces firearms retailers in the Garden State to sell smart guns.
That’s not all though. Murphy, a progressive Democrat, also put his John Hancock on three other bills that work to make New Jersey’s gun laws the “toughest” in the nation.
“The scourge of gun violence is a pervasive problem that affects our entire nation,” said Gov. Murphy, in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“I am proud to work with our legislators to implement some of the toughest gun laws in the country to protect our residents and make our communities safer for all,” he added.
Per Gov. Murphy, the bills signed into law include:
- S101 (Weinberg, Codey/Johnson, Vainieri Huttle, Wimberly) – Establishes commission to approve personalized handguns; requires firearm retailers to sell personalized handguns.
- S3897 (Weinberg, Greenstein/Greenwald, Reynolds-Jackson) – Criminalizes purchase, transfer, or possession of certain weapons and ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes; establishes crime of transferring or possessing firearm without serial number.
- A4449 (Tully, Swain/Singleton, O’Scanlon) – Establishes crime of soliciting transfer of firearm by disqualified person.
- A3896 (Downey, Houghtaling, Schaer/Cryan) – Requires AG and Commissioner of Health to establish suicide prevention training course and informational materials for firearm retail dealers.
In addition to requiring FFLs to sell at least one smart gun, S101 also rescinded an ill-conceived 2002 law that required gun dealers to sell smart guns exclusively in New Jersey three years after they became available for “retail purposes.”
Murphy explained during the press conference how the law, known as the New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law, backfired in the face of gun-control advocates as it put an “enormous amount of pressure on the gun manufacturers to not pursue the (research and development) that was necessary” to bring viable smart gun technology to the marketplace.
As GA previously reported, the gun industry doesn’t oppose smart gun development. What it rails against is when the government tries to force the issue.
“The firearms industry is not opposed to the development or marketing of user-authorized (“smart gun”) technology, but we continue to oppose any form of government mandate, including telling a retailer to stock a product in the attempt to create demand that we frankly do not yet see,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement to GA in 2015.
SEE ALSO: New Jersey Governor Proposes $400 Carry Permits, $100 Firearm ID Cards, $50 Handgun Purchase Permits
While compelling small business owners to sell products they may not want to put on their shelves is troubling, what may be the most concerning of all the bills signed is S3897, which expands the list of prohibited persons in the state, those who are banned from buying guns, to include those convicted of carjacking or making terroristic threats. While carjacking is a pretty obvious offense, a “terroristic threat” is less so.
According to New Jersey law firm Aiello & Harris, the standard for defining the offense, which is a 2nd- or 3rd-degree crime depending on the circumstances, is as follows:
Is caustic or harsh online banter enough to qualify as a “terroristic threat”? If so, New Jersey gun owners are going to have to extra careful about what they say publicly. Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time may end up costing them their 2A rights under this new law.
Looking ahead, Gov. Murphy is going to continue to pursue an anti-2A agenda. NJ.com reports that there are a handful of other gun-control bills being considered, including legislation that would require background checks and tracking for ammo sales, price hikes for carry permits and Firearm ID cards, and mandatory safety training every 4 years, among others.
“Governor Murphy’s Gun Safety Package 2.0, will surely be followed by version 3.0. When 2,0 fails to stop criminals as version 1.0 did he will again push his gun prohibition agenda under the banner of ‘comprehensive gun safety’ laws,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation in an email to GunsAmerica.
“New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights but unfortunately the last state to recognize it,” he added.