N.J. officials expect surge in requests for concealed carry permits

Governor Murphy pushes for ‘gun-free’ spaces in wake of Supreme Court ruling

By: - June 24, 2022 2:42 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy speaking in Trenton about his administration’s efforts to respond to Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision paving the way for more gun owners to carry concealed firearms. (Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office).

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said Friday he expects more than 200,000 people to apply for concealed carry permits in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will make it easier for New Jerseyans to take their guns anywhere.

In response to the expected flood of applications, Gov. Phil Murphy said he signed an executive order directing all state agencies to implement gun-free spaces wherever possible and will push for legislation to create “sensitive places” where guns are banned.

That would include crowded areas like stadiums and arenas, bars and other places where alcohol is served, polling places, courthouses, and more.

Murphy said he also wants legislation to forbid gun owners from taking their weapons onto any private property without the approval of the property owner. He announced his plan at a midday news conference at his office in Trenton, with a crowd of gun-control advocates gathered in support.

“A right to carry a concealed weapon is, in actuality, a recipe for tragedy,” Murphy said. “Moreover, it is not in line with our longstanding New Jersey values, values which have always supported the Second Amendment through carefully crafted, and equally as carefully enforced, laws to ensure that guns do not needlessly proliferate in our communities.”

Murphy’s announcement came one day after the Supreme Court overturned a New York law requiring gun owners to show “proper cause” why they need to carry a gun outside their home. The decision means New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement falls too — although gun owners still must apply for permits to carry guns outside their homes or businesses.

Callahan said he spoke with more than 400 police executives and all 21 county prosecutors Friday morning to prepare them for both more concealed carry permit applicants and gun violence.

Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said he issued a directive Friday to all New Jersey law enforcement reminding them citizens can’t carry firearms without a permit.

“There is nothing in yesterday’s decision that changes that,” he said.

Platkin also said the administration wants legislation that would require gun owners to get liability insurance, similar to what car owners are required to have.

Murphy said Friday the Supreme Court ruling shows why New Jersey legislators should pass a gun-control package he has pushed that would tighten gun restrictions by tracking ammunition sales, banning body armor, and requiring more firearms training, among other things.

“New Jersey has one of the nation’s lowest rates of gun violence, not because we allow for unlimited guns on our streets, but because we have taken smart actions to ensure they stay out of the wrong hands and out of places where they don’t belong. And we will continue to do so,” he said.

Assemblyman John DiMaio, the GOP leader in the Assembly, said in a statement Murphy’s Friday comments showed “clear differences in his rhetoric on criminals and law-abiding citizens.”

“Democrats don’t appear to trust honest, law-abiding citizens, and are responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling as if the average gun owner is a criminal,” said DiMaio (R-Warren). “Even Gov. Murphy will tell you gun violence in New Jersey is because of illegal gun owners, not people who exercise second amendment rights. And those rights will still need to be exercised in New Jersey.”

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.