Weekly Spotlight 10/31-11/6/22
In a Post-Bruen World, New Jersey Attempts to Pass Nation’s Most Restrictive Gun Measure
New Jersey has long been home to some of the nation’s most restrictive concealed carry laws. In fact, it was one of just nine may-issue states in the U.S. before the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen struck down their subjective licensing. Bruen ruled the overly restrictive regulations and requirements to demonstrate proper cause, that prevented many law-abiding gun owners from obtaining a firearm for self-defense and concealed carry, was unconstitutional.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, a person in New Jersey – resident or non-resident – would have to obtain a Permit to Carry a Handgun (PCH). To do so, an applicant had to demonstrate urgent necessity based on a special danger to his or her life and must first obtain the approval of the local police chief before then presenting the application to a superior court judge. All applicants had to be at least 21 years old and a firearms training course was required for new applicants.
In a politically-driven effort to maintain the state’s restrictive gun laws in a post-Bruen world, New Jersey House Speaker Craig J. Couglin (D) announced a new bill (A4769) that would “stand as the nation’s strongest measure concerning concealed carry…”
When evaluating this bill, the USCCA-FSL found it would require law-abiding concealed carry holders to purchase liability insurance, which Politico reported would be the first statewide mandate of its kind in the nation should the bill become law. It will also ban firearms in large swaths of our communities, including government buildings, health care facilities, airports, casinos and private properties where the owners have not given express permission to have guns, among other places. Additionally, the bill would increase a carry permit fee from $50 to $200.
It should be noted that back in 2019, Governor Murphy signed an executive order that directed New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance to prohibit the sale of “insurance products that encourage the improper use of firearms.” This led firearms insurance programs to pull out of the state, leaving some without legal protection resources. Now, under this bill, liability insurance is a requirement along with many other overly-restrictive efforts by the government to prevent law-abiding gun owners from exercising their constitutional rights.
At this time, the New Jersey bill has successfully made it over its first hurdle by passing out of the State Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. Next, it will need to pass the full State Assembly and Senate before heading to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk where he will inevitably sign this bill into law.
The USCCA-FSL stands unequivocally opposed to this bill. It is not the role of the government to mandate responsible gun owners purchase liability insurance, nor place hurdle after hurdle for responsible gun owners to exercise their inalienable right to self defense. The USCCA-FSL will continue to monitor the progress of this bill, provide our supporters with updates and advocate on behalf of all responsibly armed Americans who seek to keep their families safe.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Americans are more likely now than at any time over the past five decades to say there is more crime in their local area than there was a year ago. The 56% of U.S. adults who report an increase in crime where they live marks a five-percentage-point uptick since last year and is the highest by two points in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1972. Public perceptions of an increase in crime at the national level have also edged up since last year, as 78% say there is now more crime in the U.S. This is tied with the 2020 measure. The record high was 89% in 1992, when crime rates soared in the U.S.
The discussion surrounding gun control in the United States is a core issue for some voters heading to the ballot box this November. At the center of this debate are various political and judicial interpretations regarding the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms” and whether legislation designed to curb mass shootings supersedes those constitutional guarantees. Gun control generally refers to legislation seeking to provide greater restrictions on firearms, from the federal or state government, through background checks, firearm or bump stock bans, red flag laws, ammo limits, and waiting periods to purchase a firearm. In the upcoming midterm election, Republican candidates and incumbents are generally opponents of gun control measures, while Democrats typically support them.
At a gas station in Houston, David Blanco fills up the tank of his car, a Glock 19 pistol clearly visible on his left hip. The Hispanic Texan says that in the crucial mid-term US elections coming up in less than two weeks, “the criteria that would mainly make me want to go out (and vote) is strictly firearms at the moment.” Blanco, a serious-looking 33-year-old, had never been interested much in politics before, and didn’t normally vote. But things changed, he said, when politicians “started threatening the Second Amendment, saying that, ‘Oh, we’re gonna ban AR-15s and high-capacity magazines.'” “I was like, ‘You know what, maybe I should get involved now, maybe I should look more into it, and see who’s for protecting my rights that are guaranteed to me” under the US Constitution.
Gun control opponents worry an Oregon ballot measure will make their communities less safe since police agencies will be forced to fund and operate a massive permit-to-purchase program. “This is the most extreme gun control measure in the country, or at least one of the most extreme,” Oregon State Shooting Association President Kerry Spurgin told Fox News. “It will virtually eliminate firearm sales in Oregon as written.” If approved, Measure 114 would require a background check, hands-on firearm training, fingerprint collection and a permit to purchase a gun. Police would be required to maintain an electronic, searchable database of all firearm permits.