A sweeping package of six separate gun-reform bills approved by the Legislature and collectively sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Richard Codey, Senator Linda R. Greenstein, Senator Fred H. Madden Jr., Senator Joe Cryan, Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Nia Gill was signed into law today by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“This is an important day in New Jersey,” said Senator Weinberg. “Gun violence continues to spread across the nation and while New Jersey has always been at the forefront of sensible gun legislation, we can do more. Today we are ensuring that not only are weapons and ammunition that should not be in civilian hands will be properly regulated and restricted, but we also are providing needed legal mechanisms to get weapons out of the hands of people who may do harm to themselves and others.”
“I have been an advocate for persons struggling with mental illness for decades and we, in New Jersey, have come far on that front,” said Senator Codey. “But not until today have we truly acknowledged the need to get firearms away from people who are exhibiting clear signs of mental stress. By doing this we can save the lives of potential victims and hopefully, can also save the life of the would-be shooter.”
“From conducting background checks for all gun sales, to clarifying language over what constitutes a justifiable need to carry a firearm to banning civilians from possessing and using armor-piercing ammunition, these new laws will make New Jersey safer, smarter and hopefully, a leader in the national debate over gun control,” said Senator Greenstein. “Until the federal government does more, it is up to us in state legislatures to lead the way on this important live-saving issue.”
“We need a safety value to help patients suffering from mental illness who have access to firearms,” said Senator Gopal. “We will now require mental health professionals to inform law enforcement when patients are at risk. We are protecting communities and we are also protecting patients.”
“As the former Union County Sheriff, I understand the ever-present threat of gun violence in communities and schools across the nation,” said Senator Cryan, who is also the author of separate legislation that would ban “ghost guns.” “New Jersey will now have stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who are danger to themselves and others. This is about saving lives by preventing tragic shootings.”
“My experience in the State Police has shown that the only people who should have possession of armor-piercing ammunition are law enforcement officers,” said Senator Madden. “There is no reason for a person to own ammunition with such destructive capabilities. We have to close every technical loophole that allows individuals and sellers to skirt life-saving, sensible gun regulations.”
“A very important step in making our communities safer is to limit the size of firearm magazines,” said Senator Gill . “There is no need for a civilian to have a 15-round magazine. Lives can be saved in the time it takes a shooter to reload. This law will save lives. And New Jersey is a little bit safer.”
The six laws are:
- The “Extreme Risk Protective Act” which allows a family member or law-enforcement official to apply for an extreme risk protective order against persons who pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm. (Sponsors: Senator Weinberg and Senator Codey)
- A law that codifies the definition of “justifiable need” to carry a hand gun. (Sponsor: Senator Greenstein)
- A law that would require all dealers or sellers to complete a background check before any firearm can be sold, give, transferred or disposed of by an individual. (Sponsor: Senator Greenstein)
- A law that requires law enforcement, upon order of the court, to seize a firearm that is in the possession of an individual determined by licensed health care professionals to be likely to engage in conduct that poses a threat of serious harm to themselves or others. (Sponsors: Senator Gopal and Senator Cryan).
- A law that clarifies the possession of armor-piercing ammunition to include a ban on this type of ammunition for handguns. (Sponsors: Senator Madden and Senator Greenstein)
- A law that would ban firearm magazines capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition. (Sponsors: Senator Weinberg and Senator Gill)