The New Jersey Senate has approved a bill that aims to establish common-sense gun safety standards for carrying concealed firearms in the state. Sponsored by Senate President Nick Scutari and Senator Linda Greenstein, the bill received a vote of 21-16 and will now be sent to Governor Phil Murphy for consideration. The legislation builds on existing gun laws in New Jersey and aims to prevent firearms from ending up in the hands of the wrong people by requiring more comprehensive background checks and setting training standards.
In addition to these measures, the bill also prohibits permit holders from carrying handguns in more than 20 categories of “sensitive safety locations,” including schools, government buildings, polling places, bars and restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, parks, airports, casinos, and childcare facilities. This provision does not apply to active or retired law enforcement officers. The bill also requires private property owners to opt in to allowing permittees to carry on their premises.
Other provisions of the bill include requiring concealed-carry permittees to undergo gun safety training, including a gun range qualification, and imposing new insurance requirements on concealed carry permit holders to ensure victims are appropriately compensated and protected. The legislation also increases permitting fees across the board to cover the cost of stepped-up background checks and these new provisions, and it channels revenue from the increased fees to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office.
The bill received widespread support from law enforcement organizations in the state, including 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. Gun safety advocates also applauded the Senate’s decision, while opponents criticized the measures as unnecessary and overly burdensome. The bill will now go to Governor Murphy for consideration.