After two recent gun massacres, supporters of the gun control package put pressure on legislative leaders to move the bills. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
An Assembly panel will weigh most bills included in Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest gun control package next week, but it’s still not clear when — or if — those measures will be heard in the Senate.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is scheduled to consider five of the bills the governor first announced in April 2021. Those include measures setting storage regulations for firearms, requiring residents who purchase firearms outside of New Jersey to register them and obtain a firearms purchaser identification card, and raising the age to purchase long guns to 21 (with an exemption for members of the military).
The committee’s decision to schedule a hearing on the bills comes as supporters have put pressure on legislative leaders to move them. Murphy, too, has urged the Legislature to advance the bill package in remarks he made following recent massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
The panel will also consider bills that would require retailers to keep detailed records about ammunition buyers and allow the state attorney general to file public nuisance torts against gun manufacturers and others involved in the firearms industry.
Two bills from Murphy’s package do not appear on the committee’s Wednesday agenda. One would ban .50 caliber firearms, and another would require gun manufacturers to use micro-stamp technology that would print serial numbers on spent casings and allow law enforcement to more easily link specific guns to crime scenes.
A Senate panel on Monday advanced the bill allowing the attorney general to file tort claims against members of the gun industry, and on Thursday it was amended to include requirements for members of the gun industry to set policies preventing theft, ensuring compliance with marketing restrictions, and preventing straw purchases.
The remaining bills have not been scheduled for a committee vote in the chamber.
Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has not publicly backed the gun package, though he has said he would “keep an open mind” about the proposals. A small group of protestors rallied outside his Clark district office earlier this week to urge him to move the bills.
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