Planet Princeton

Murphy administration will tighten restrictions on permits to carry handguns in NJ

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced today at the Trenton YMCA that the new administration will rescind a rule adopted by the Christie administration that attempted to weaken New Jersey’s stringent standards of what was considered a “justifiable need” to carry a handgun.

“New Jersey cannot, and must not, become part of the race to the bottom on handgun carry that we are seeing across the country,” Murphy said. “My position on handgun carry has been clear and unambiguous. There already are too many guns on our streets, and adding more into the equation will not make New Jersey communities any safer.”

New Jersey law previously required individuals seeking to obtain a handgun-carry permit to demonstrate a “justifiable need” that they had been the recipient of specific threats or attacks. The Christie administration adopted a policy in March 2017 that reduced the threshold  by allowing applicants to include “serious threats” to support the required demonstration of justifiable need.  Someone who lives or works in an area where certain crimes are common could arguably apply for a  handgun-carry permit by citing a concern for their safety, even if they had not been personally subjected to a threat or incident. In April 2017, the Legislature sued Governor Christie over the change, saying it ignored the legislative intent of the law. The lawsuit is still pending.

“Today my office has begun taking steps to make our state’s handgun carry rules consistent with long-settled legal precedent,” Grewal said. “Our ultimate goal is to solidify New Jersey’s handgun permitting rule language in its prior form, as advocated by the Legislature, and consistent with two prior decisions rendered by the State’s highest court. New Jersey’s law should be clear – private citizens should not be able to carry weapons based on mere generalized fear.”

Murphy also said he is committed to fighting federal concealed-carry reciprocity legislation that passed in the House of Representatives in December. If enacted, the legislation would force New Jersey and other states to honor concealed-carry permits issued outside of their borders, even if those states have lower standards or no standards for concealed-carry. New Jersey is one of ten states that currently does not honor concealed-carry permits issued out of state.

“The notion that we would have to be subjected to the lowest common denominator is reprehensible,” Murphy said. “Forcing our state to comply with the standards of other states undermines our law, makes our people less safe, and makes it more difficult for the brave women and men in New Jersey law enforcement to do their jobs safely and effectively. Attorney General Grewal and I remain committed to fighting any federal regulations that could exacerbate the gun epidemic.”

The new rules will be instituted through the state’s Administrative Procedures Act and will take between three and six months to be implemented, officials said.

Scott Bach,  the executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, slammed the move and indicated his group may take legal action to fight the change.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens, which means you’re on your own in an emergency. It is an outrage that the same government that abandons its duty to keep us safe is also working to prevent us from protecting ourselves. Governor Murphy will have the blood of more innocents like Carol Bowne on his hands,” he said. “New Jersey is going to have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into legal recognition of the fundamental right to defend yourself outside the home. My group is more than happy to oblige and will be at the forefront of the movement to restore this constitutional right.”

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

10 comments

  • So if someone steals your car, burgles your house when you are away or kidnaps your children, don’t bother calling the police? Be your own police force and hunt down the criminals on your own? Of course you will be charged with vigilantism. The SCOTUS does on occasion make knuckle headed decisions (Citizen’s United and this one). We all have to be Liam Neeson it appears.

  • 2018 is off to a “great” start if you are into gun massacres and gun slaughters. What’s the reaction from the gun lovers, the NRA, the gun manufacturers and the ammunition makers: we need more guns everywhere, at all times, blah, blah. It is hideous, sickening and just wrong.

  • Or being a politician. Most of the permit holders are people like Steve Sweeney. Of course, NJ keeps the list secret of who has permits secret unlike say NYC.

  • Pretty much. Ask Carol Bowne how that works out. Oh, wait, you can’t. She’s dead.

  • Bravo, Phil Murphy! Quote from the pro guns propagandist.: “……police owe no duty to protect individual citizens, which means you’re on your own in an emergency.” End stupid quote. These pro gun acolytes will sink to the most absurd crap garbage to try to win an argument. If supposedly the police owe no duty to protect citizens, then what the hell are we paying them to do. In the real world, the police risk their lives and limbs every day to protect the general public. What’s next, firefighters owe no duty to protect individual citizens? Postal carriers owe no duty to deliver the mail? This country is saturated with guns and it does not make us any safer; it certainly does not prevent school massacres and massacres in general. Many of these massacres occurred in states and areas where conceal and carry was allowed and there actually were armed “good guys” in the crowd. They dared not use their guns for fear of being shot by the police and because they weren’t sure who or where the shooter was in all the chaos and confusion. The pro gun clowns bleated for 8 years that Obama was going to confiscate your guns. It never happened. It is still possible to buy a gun or rifle in NJ but that’s not enough for the pro guns people.

  • Oh. So instead of 12 carry permits, there will be 9.

    We’re in for a wild ride. Ex Goldman guy has to make amends for years of greed. Recall Goldman got 100 cents on the dollar in the AIG debacle. Our money.

  • Completely in character with someone destined to be the worst governor ever and in NJ that’s really an accomplishment.

  • This is silly grandstanding. Nobody (unconnected to the state government) was getting a carry permit regardless of Christie’s executive order. Absolute B.S. window dressing.

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