Day: December 22, 2022

Governor Murphy Signs Gun Safety Bill Strengthening Concealed Carry Laws in New Jersey in Response to Bruen Decision

Today’s Bill Signing Delivers on Governor’s Promise & Continues the Murphy Administration’s Record of Leading the Nation on Gun Safety

December 22, 2022

SCOTCH PLAINS – Governor Phil Murphy today signed A4769/S3214, delivering on the promise he made in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision when he unveiled a comprehensive legislative proposal to maintain New Jersey’s status as a model for gun safety by strengthening restrictions for who is eligible for a public carry permit, and establishing a list of places where people with carry permits cannot bring their firearms.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case that it is impermissible to require applicants in New York to show “proper cause” to carry a handgun in public, which had the effect of invalidating New Jersey’s longstanding laws restricting public carry to those who could demonstrate a “justifiable need”. Less than 24 hours later, Governor Murphy unveiled a comprehensive proposal that, consistent with Bruen, would strengthen the statutory disqualifiers for those eligible for a carry permit, while significantly expanding the list of sensitive places where individuals cannot carry firearms.

“Today’s bill signing is the culmination of months of negotiations between this Administration and our partners in the Legislature, delivering on the promise I made this summer to keep New Jersey safe in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s awful decision,” said Governor Murphy. “While I strongly disagree with that decision, we must abide by it, and today’s law fully respects the Second Amendment while keeping guns out of the wrong hands and preventing them from proliferating in our communities. I am proud to sign this commonsense legislation which prohibits carrying guns in sensitive places, including our daycares, hospitals, libraries, and stadiums.”

Under the law signed today, the list of sensitive places where concealed carry is not permissible includes the following three categories (a complete list is included in the law):

High-density locations

  • Entertainment venues, including stadiums, arenas, amusement parks, casinos, racetracks, and publicly owned libraries and museum
  • Youth sporting events and other recreational facilities, such as public parks, beaches, and playground
  • Bars, restaurants where alcohol is served, and any other locations that serve alcohol for on-premises consumption
  • Airports and public transportation hubs

Locations with vulnerable populations

  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Daycare and child-care facilities
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Long-term care facilities and nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities, juvenile justice facilities, and halfway houses
  • Homeless shelters

Locations with governmental and First Amendment activity

  • Polling places
  • Courthouses
  • Law enforcement stations and offices
  • Government buildings and locations with government meetings
  • Demonstrations, protests, and licensed public gatherings

In addition to these three categories, this bill sets a default rule that firearms cannot be carried on private property, including homes, businesses, stores, and houses of worship, unless the property owner expressly communicates permission through express consent or specific signage. The only exceptions to these rules are for law enforcement officers or private security guards.

“New Jersey continues to lead the nation in combatting gun violence and demonstrating how commonsense gun laws help keep residents and law enforcement safe,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The legislation signed into law today, strengthens our efforts to keep communities safe by keeping firearms out of the wrong hands and away from sensitive locations, such as where children learn and play. I thank Governor Murphy for taking another strong step forward for gun safety in the wake of recent mass shootings across the country and gun violence here at home. We remain steadfast in protecting New Jerseyans from the epidemic of gun violence while respecting Second Amendment rights.”

In addition to the expanded list of sensitive places, the bill will strengthen permit requirements by expanding ineligibility for a carry permit to the following groups:

  • Persons with an outstanding arrest warrant for an indictable offense;
  • Persons subject to certain restraining orders, including persons who have violated either a temporary or a final restraining order;
  • Persons subject to restraining orders in other jurisdictions;
  • Persons subject to voluntary admissions to mental institutions or hospitals.

The bill also makes for a more vigorous carry permit application process. Applicants must now include four endorsements of character from non-related persons. Upon submission of their application, applicants and their endorsers must now be interviewed by law enforcement to determine whether the applicant is likely to engage in conduct that would result in harm to themselves or others.

Additionally, New Jersey will become the first state in the nation to require all permit carriers to maintain and provide proof of liability insurance with coverage for at least $300,000 on account of injury, death, or damage to property arising out of ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of a firearm.

The bill also increases the handgun permit application fee to $25 from the $2 mark, where it has sat since 1966.

“New Jersey continues to be a leader on gun safety with laws that help keep our communities safe,” said Senate President Nicholas Scutari. “This law will help prevent gun violence with common-sense standards to require training, promote gun safety and prevent firearms from being carried into sensitive locations.”

“Designed in response to the US Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling, this common sense law works to protect the public safety of the more than nine million residents of our state,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “By ensuring responsible concealed carry with thorough vetting and appropriate training, we are standing up for victims of gun violence and helping to prevent future tragedies.”

“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stripped away the right for states to regulate who is able to carry concealed weapons in public,” said Senator Greenstein, the chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee. “We must do everything we can to make sure New Jersey families remain safe and protected while enjoying all New Jersey has to offer. This law is a promising step in the right direction.”

“As a recreational hunter, I know that commonsense gun reform doesn’t stop sportsmen like me from continuing traditions that have been passed down through our families for generations,” said Assemblyman Joe Danielsen. “And, as a father, I know how important it is to keep our communities and schools safe. There is nothing at odds with promoting responsible gun ownership, gun safety, gun education, and gun training while upholding the Second Amendment. I am proud to have authored this law that will strike a balance between promoting public safety and allowing people to exercise their Constitutional rights.”

“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. “This law, 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.”

“Responsible concealed carry laws have been in full force and effect in New Jersey for decades,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey. “This law restores responsible and reasonable safeguards that will protect our communities, our schools, houses of worship, and other public places.”

“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. “This law sets reasonable requirements on concealed carry in the state.”

“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 law,” said Assemblywoman Ellen J. Park. “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. “With this law, we are keeping guns out of the areas where they have the potential to do the most harm.”

“Earlier this year, radical conservatives on the Supreme Court issued a dangerous ruling that undermined many states’ concealed carry laws, including New Jersey’s. Thankfully, Governor Murphy, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, Speaker Craig Coughlin, and the New Jersey legislature stepped up and have taken decisive action to keep Garden State communities safe. We applaud them for their courageous leadership. As study after study has confirmed, having more guns in public places only increases the threat to public safety and the likelihood of violent crime. The comprehensive legislation signed today is a critical step in the right direction. As our nation continues to experience elevated rates of gun violence, we’re grateful for leaders like Governor Murphy who have the courage to act on this life-or-death issue,” said Adam Skaggs, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Giffords Law Center.

“Today is not a day for victory. Today is a solemn recognition of a law that will alleviate a potential increase in violence, injury, or death in N.J. from the increase in concealed handguns anticipated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has usurped N.J.’s former protective law designed for public safety.  When public safety is eroded and the use of concealed handguns is increased, there is no chance for nonviolence, only further violence,” said Dolores Phillips, Legislative Director for CeasefireNJ based in Princeton. “The decision for the NJ Democratic leadership to take on a U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling to reduce its harmfulness and the consequent social anxiety the SCOTUS ruling creates from the relaxing of NJ’s handgun carry standard deserves much praise by those of us seeking a nonviolent society. CeasefireNJ, and all its members that have advocated for gun violence prevention, commends the exemplary leadership of Governor Murphy, Senate President Scutari, Speaker Coughlin, and the legislative sponsorships in the Assembly and Senate for getting this public safety legislation signed into law today. We thank you all.”

“Since the US Supreme Court ruling making concealed carry of guns easier, over 300,000 New Jerseyans have reportedly applied for a permit–compared to only about 500 per year granted previously. This will lead to a Wild West scenario of massive gun proliferation. Already there are many examples of states that allow more concealed carry killing innocents, including children,” said the Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Coalition for Peace Action, of which Ceasefire NJ is a Project. “Through our Ceasefire NJ Project, we were proud to have worked hard advocating for the bill being signed today, including enabling nearly 600 NJ citizens to contact their state legislators in support. The common sense restrictions in it will make our state safer from the US epidemic of gun violence.”

“New Jersey – my community – is safer today thanks to the tireless work of dedicated activists and committed policymakers who showed up and demanded sensible solutions to reduce gun violence. This call to action culminated in the signing of S3214 and A4769 here today,” said Carole Stiller, President of BRADY New Jersey. “The signing of these bills demonstrates that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s dangerous Bruen decision, it is imperative that states take up the mantle in helping solve gun violence and promoting public safety. However, the fight doesn’t end here, and we must all continue to work together to end this epidemic and protect our communities. It takes all of us.”

“After the Supreme Court’s flawed Bruen decision we were not going to just stand by and allow guns to be carried in places like daycare centers, parks, concert and sporting venues, or train stations,” said Kathleen Dolan, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Where the Supreme Court failed us — New Jersey lawmakers have succeeded in putting the safety of our communities above anything else. We are proud to have worked with the Legislature to get this bill passed before the New Year and look forward to continuing to take proactive safety measures to protect our state from gun violence.” 

Govenor’s Office file photo

U.S Attorney Reaches Settlement With NJ Transit Over Failing To Operate A Paratransit Service That Is ADA Compliant

December 22, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a comprehensive settlement with New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) to resolve allegations that it violated the civil rights of people with disabilities by failing to operate a paratransit service that complied with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

The ADA requires public entities like NJ Transit to provide accessible public transportation to people with disabilities, including providing a paratransit system that is comparable to the transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities. Under the agreement, NJ Transit must ensure that its paratransit system – Access Link – eliminates capacity constraints that significantly limits the availability of transit services to ADA paratransit eligible persons. NJ Transit’s Access Link subjected a significant number of ADA paratransit eligible riders to excessively long trips, late pickups, late drop-offs, and excessive telephone hold times.

“Without equal access to public transportation, people with disabilities are deprived the opportunity to engage in society on an equal basis,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “This agreement removes discriminatory barriers by ensuring that thousands of Americans with disabilities have equal access to public transportation throughout New Jersey.”

New Jersey Transit has committed to make five intercity rail stations – Newark Penn Station, Princeton Junction Train Station, MetroPark Train Station, Trenton Train Station, and New Brunswick Train Station – accessible to individuals with disabilities. New Jersey Transit must modify multiple portions of the rail stations and their access points, including physical modifications to multiple platforms, waiting areas, parking lots, and restrooms.

Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Sellinger created a Civil Rights Division with the sole focus on enforcing federal civil rights laws, including the ADA, with the goal of protecting and upholding the civil rights of those in our community. This matter was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s newly formed Civil Rights Division.

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office at or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339. Additional information about the ADA can be found at, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Campion, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division.


NJEDA Announces Launch of New Cannabis Grant Program

Funding to help new businesses in the cannabis industry with start-up expenses

December 22, 2022

TRENTON – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board announced today the creation of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program, aimed at helping start-ups in the state develop with assistance for early-stage expenses and technical training. Up to $10 million in state funding will be made available for applicants.

“My Administration is doubling its efforts to cultivate small businesses in burgeoning industries with massive untapped potential,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The establishment of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program will help aspiring small business owners meet start-up expenses in a pivotal sector within our state’s ever-growing economy. Most importantly, the program will erode considerable barriers to access for communities of color, which this program will help to equip with the resources they need to not just enter, but thrive, in this exciting new industry.”

Following the 2020 referendum legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana in New Jersey and the 2021 legislation establishing the framework for regulated growth and sales, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation in June 2022 allowing the Authority to offer qualifying small businesses licensed in the cannabis industry to pursue assistance.

“I am in full support of funding the Cannabis Equity Grant Program to help private entities create business start-ups in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver. “The Murphy Administration fought for the legalization of cannabis because of our commitment to social justice issues. Our administration will continue working to grow a cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of our state, protects access for medical marijuana patients, prioritizes justice, and promotes equal opportunities for communities of color.”

“Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is committed to building a thriving and inclusive cannabis sector that maximizes opportunities for underserved communities and people impacted by the War on Drugs, and this program is a major step toward that goal,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to advance additional programs to support entrepreneurs in this rapidly developing sector.”

$10 million will be made available in the initial pilot program. 60 percent of that amount will be made available to qualifying social equity applicants, like those who have previous cannabis convictions or live in economically disadvantaged areas. Economically disadvantaged areas are defined by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) as zip codes that meet certain socioeconomic criteria. These businesses can receive up to $250,000 to help with certain start-up expenses like regulatory fees, rental expenses, utilities, and wages. Qualifications for these businesses include holding a conditional cannabis license, business formation after March 2020, and employing 50 or fewer employees. Grantees will also participate in technical assistance and business education courses, provided by the Authority.

“This program can have a positive impact by supporting diversity in New Jersey’s cannabis industry during its formative stages. As the market continues its successful growth, these grants will help provide more opportunities to a greater number of operators in a larger number of communities to participate,” said Senate President Nicholas Scutari. 

“We have been very intentional about standing up a statewide cannabis industry that works to the benefit of New Jersey consumers, businesses, and our state’s overall economic development,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “After good progress in the eight months since opening day, it’s important that next steps center on creating opportunities for small and aspiring retailers to enter the market. That’s exactly what I believe this new pilot program is engineered to achieve.”

“Part of the impetus for passing legislation for legalization was recognition that the prohibition of cannabis has, for decades, disproportionately and negatively affected young people in Black and Latino communities,” said Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic). “As Chair of the Legislative Latino Caucus, I am heartened to see NJEDA launch this Cannabis Equity Grant Program to help financially with start-up costs for new businesses in those very communities that have been so adversely affected. This is one more important piece of the social equity contract that remains at the heart of cannabis legalization in New Jersey.”

“As we move further into full implementation of cannabis legalization, we must remember to maintain our commitment to social equity, as well as to equity of economic opportunity. The NJEDA’s Cannabis Equity Grant Program serves as clear reminder that minority-owned businesses must be an integral part of the emerging cannabis market beginning to take root in our state,” said Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Of course, starting up a business of any kind has its ups and downs, and unforeseen obstacles. As Vice Chair of the Legislative Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, I am excited to see NJEDA step up and see what opportunities grant programs like this will create for hard-working entrepreneurs anxious to show what they can do when given a chance.”

“The Cannabis Equity Grant Program will help level the playing field for entrepreneurs looking to enter New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis market,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “By prioritizing equity and inclusion, we can establish a socially responsible cannabis industry that will create jobs and opportunities for those who have been disproportionately impacted.”

The remaining 40 percent of the initial pilot will be open to all entities who have secured municipal approval and site control over their business’s real estate. Applicants with conditional licenses and existing approvals can receive up to $250,000 in grant support for eligible expenses.

Tied to the legislation signed earlier this year are the allocations for Impact Zones, which are areas targeted based on previous levels of marijuana arrests, population, unemployment rates, and additional socioeconomic factors. Five percent of the total $10 million will be reserved for businesses located in Impact Zones.

“We realize how important it is to empower cannabis businesses, many of which have faced barriers to accessing financial capital in the past,” said NJEDA Chief Community Development Officer Tai Cooper. “Communities that suffered unfairly during the criminalization of cannabis need the chance to benefit from new entrepreneurial opportunities created by cannabis legalization and regulated sales. We want to see these opportunities extended to those businesses that will help fill storefronts, warehouses, and other commercial properties that closed their doors during the pandemic and bring new jobs to communities where there is the greatest need.”

“The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has from the beginning understood that if we want New Jersey’s cannabis market to reflect the diversity of its residents, and if we want to ensure that it is inclusive of groups that bear the scars of prohibition, then designated access to capital would be essential for some applicants,” said New Jersey CRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou. “We have been working with several partners in and outside of state government to identify sources of the capital cannabis entrepreneurs need. We are grateful that it is our own state Economic Development Authority that is stepping up to meet some of that need. I am thrilled to see this program become a reality and I look forward to seeing its substantive impact leading to cannabis entrepreneurs opening for business.”

“We are pleased with the efforts of the NJEDA to authorize critical resources that will assist our constituency in advancing their plans to participate in the recreational cannabis industry in our state,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., Founder, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. “I applaud the leadership of the NJEDA for their willingness to listen, and engage in a frank dialogue with business enterprises, that have capital at risk, about their plans to bring value to the marketplace; it’s through these best practices that we can realize a transformation that will lead to a more equitable New Jersey.”

“With over 140,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in New Jersey, which continue to fuel economic growth, it is smart business to offer grants to help this massive economic engine propel us forward,” said Carlos Medina, President and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. “Thank you to our partners at the NJEDA for continuing to be innovative in their programming. Kudos!”

To further encourage participants in economically disadvantaged areas, the application fee of $1,000 for those in these locations may be waived. The applications window will stay open for 180 days following the Grant Program’s launch.

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Two Men Sentenced To 20 Years In Prision For 2019 Homicide Of 23-Year-Old Asbury Park Man

December 22, 2022

FREEHOLD – Two men were sentenced for their respective roles in the 2019 shooting homicide of a 23-year-old Asbury Park man at the Prospect Avenue basketball courts, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Thursday.

On Friday December 16, 2022, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. Lemieux, Prince D. Young, 25, and Chyrod M. Freeman, 24, both of Asbury Park, were each sentenced to 20 years in a New Jersey State Prison on first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter charges. Those charges are subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) which requires Young and Freeman to serve 85% of their sentences prior to being eligible for parole.

Young was also sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison for first-degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder and 5 years for second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun. Both charges will run concurrently to the Aggravated Manslaughter sentence.

Freeman was also sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison for second-degree Aggravated Assault and 5 years for second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun. Both charges will run concurrently to the Aggravated Manslaughter charge.

Young and Freeman previously pleaded guilty on January 27, 2022 to their roles in the June 2019 shooting death of Jehadje J. McMillian.

“Jehadje J. McMillian was a young man with an extremely bright future ahead of him that was taken away in a single act of senseless violence,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago stated.  “The sanctity of life dictates that justice be served. These pleas and the ensuing sentences strived to provide a grieving family some sense of closure.”

Asbury Park police responded to multiple 911 calls reporting shots fired in the 1100 block of Atlantic Avenue in the city around 10:44 p.m. on Friday, June 14, 2019. Police arrived on scene to find McMillian with a gunshot wound, and he was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:14 a.m. of the following day.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner, Director of the Major Crimes Bureau, and Ashley Behre. Young was represented by James R. Lisa, Esq. of Jersey City, and Freeman was represented by Albert Kapin, Esq. of West Orange.

Police Report Trespasser Looking For Fight At South Brunswick High School In Custody

December 22, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police report that at 7:55 a.m. today, South Brunswick High School administrators learned of an unauthorized juvenile from a different school district in the school building. Information indicated the juvenile was looking to fight a student at the school. School administrations in conjunction with the School Resource Officer placed the school in shelter-in-place while they attempted to locate the trespasser. Additional officers responded to the high school. Officers along with school security personnel conducted a systematic search of the school. The school was placed in lockdown while the search was being conducted. Eight minutes into the search officers located the trespasser in a second-floor room hiding. The juvenile was taken into custody and transported to police headquarters. The investigation into the incident uncovered the juvenile was allowed access into the high school as a result of a current student circumventing security procedures. That juvenile also faces charges in the incident.

Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “Today’s incident was unsettling with 2,700 students and staff having to go into lockdown. We will hold those accountable who created today’s issue.  I want to thank the students who first came forward to report the suspicious activity and the quick action by the school administration along with the SRO.”