The full Assembly today advanced historic legislation that further solidifies New Jersey as the national leader on commonsense gun safety laws.
The bill (A-4769), sponsored by Assembly Democrats, will keep New Jersey families and communities safe by requiring more comprehensive background checks before a permit is issued; prohibiting permit holders from carrying handguns in sensitive public areas such as government buildings, sporting arenas, schools and daycare centers; and establishing insurance and training requirements to protect permit holders as well as the public.
“Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down over a century of commonsense gun safety laws,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “While I strongly disagree with that decision, our action today shows New Jersey is leading with responsible action to keep our families and neighborhoods safe from gun violence.”
“I am a gun owner, collector, hunter, and Army veteran,” said Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset), the prime sponsor of the legislation in the Assembly. “That’s why I understand it is entirely possible to promote safe communities while preserving Second Amendment rights. I am particularly proud that every major law enforcement member organization in the state has endorsed this legislation and thank them for their partnership in this process.”
The legislation has received support from the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, the Association of Former New Jersey State Troopers, and the New Jersey State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association.
“We continue to deliver on our promise to protect our children and the community by empowering law enforcement with common sense gun safety laws that also affirm our constitutional commitment to responsible gun ownership,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington), a prime sponsor of the bill. “This legislation, made necessary by a recent Supreme Court ruling, ensures New Jersey maintains one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation and continues to be one of the safest to live, work, and raise a family.”
“We as a nation have witnessed too many acts of gun violence, more than 500 mass shootings this year alone. It’s imperative that we do everything within our power to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris), a prime sponsor of the bill. “This legislation sets reasonable requirements on concealed carry in the state.”
“Responsible concealed carry laws have been in full force and effect in New Jersey for decades,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), a prime sponsor of the bill. “This legislation restores responsible and reasonable safeguards that will protect our communities, our schools, houses of worship, and other public places.”
“As a member of the AAPI community, a community that has seen a stark rise in hate and bigoted violence, I am proud to be a part of this nationally recognized gun violence prevention bill,” said Assemblywoman Ellen J. Park (D-Bergen), a prime sponsor of the bill. “This is the right thing to do because it aligns with the values held by the overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans. It’s the right thing to do because protecting our citizens is our moral obligation as public officials. And it’s the right thing to do because in the absence of a functioning federal government, it is important to show the country that New Jersey is here to lead.”
“Whether they are dropping their children off at school or going to a concert, New Jersey residents deserve to feel safe from senseless gun violence,” said Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson), a prime sponsor of the bill. “With this legislation, we are keeping guns out of the areas where they have the potential to do the most harm.”
Advocates and leading law enforcement representatives issued the following statements in support of the bill’s passage:
“Brady applauds the Assembly for passing this life-saving bill that addresses the dangerous ramifications of the Bruen decision and prioritizes public health and safety. A4769 establishes a robust and sound system to ensure that those who carry concealed firearms in public have been comprehensively vetted and trained, and protects sensitive places – schools, daycare, parks, hospitals – where guns have no place. This bill will make New Jerseyans feel safe, and most importantly, it will save lives because we know that states with weakened concealed carry laws have increased rates of violent crime. Brady thanks Speaker Coughlin and Assemblymembers Chaparro, Danielsen, Greenwald, Jasey, McKeon and Park for their leadership on this important legislation.” Kris Brown, President of Brady
“Today the NJ Assembly will respond to the extreme and dangerous Supreme Court decision by passing a critical gun safety law that will protect New Jersey communities. More guns in public places will increase the risks to New Jerseyans and we are thankful for leaders with the courage to take action that will protect us from senseless gun violence. We applaud Assemblymen Danielsen and McKeon, Speaker Coughlin, and Majority Leader Lou Greenwald for their leadership and urge the Senate to act swiftly as well.” Nico Bocour, Government Affairs Director, Giffords
“There are some places where guns simply don’t belong — places like playgrounds and bars and restaurants that serve alcohol,” said Shani Nuckols, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We can easily imagine how much worse the 2018 Art All Night shooting in Trenton could have been if more civilians in the large crowd that night were carrying firearms and started shooting. We applaud the diligent work of the Assembly for taking action to make us safer. It is now up to the Senate to follow suit, and we will continue to be a partner with the Legislature to fight for common sense gun safety laws to ensure that our communities are protected.”
“The law enforcement community embraces state legislation designed to make all municipalities safer,” said Thomas Dellane, President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. “We are pleased that state lawmakers sought our Association’s input for a bill designed to help further public safety in such a densely-populated state as New Jersey. The state’s police chiefs will be fully prepared to implement the new standards set forth in this proposed law and appreciate the commitment of state legislators to prioritize gun safety.”
“I would like to thank legislative leadership for agreeing to over 20 amendments at our request over the last several weeks to get this bill to a better place. Although we would like to have seen a few more changes, this bill respects the training, qualifications and tremendous experience our retirees deserve. They will remain an important component in keeping the residents and visitors of New Jersey safe and secure.” Patrick Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association
“We recognize the commitment of the legislative leadership to make New Jersey a leader in safe compliance with the recent Supreme Court decision. We are pleased that this legislation will not comprise the Rights and obligations of active and qualified retired law enforcement officers. As this bill is implemented, both the STFA and legislative leadership stand committed to making improvements along the way.” Wayne Blanchard, President of the State Troopers Fraternal Association
“The NJ State Troopers NCO Association is appreciative of the legislative leadership’s willingness to support the importance of maintaining the ability of qualified active and retired law enforcement officials to carry hand guns. Acknowledging our concerns voiced for the responsibilities of active and retired law enforcement officers is essential for compliance with current case law. We look forward to working with the state and other law enforcement officials to effectively implement other changes as needed.” Dan Oliveira, President, NCO Association of New Jersey
Having advanced from the full Assembly, 42-29-1, the bill now awaits further action in the Senate.