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):
- 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
- 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