“Make no mistake about it — this dangerous decision will make America a less safe country,” Murphy said in a statement, echoing similarly strong language from New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “But let me be equally clear that here in New Jersey, we will do everything in our power to protect our residents.”
New Jersey has one of the strictest gun laws in the country.
Hochul, also a Democrat, called the decision “terrible in its scope”, its language “shocking” and said the court was turning “this nation and our ability to protect our citizens back to our founding fathers”.
Thursday’s ruling doesn’t mean handguns are suddenly legal for anyone to conceal, a point New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin sought to emphasize in a statement after the court ruling. People still have to get permits, and there are still permit requirements that remain in place. For example, current New Jersey law prohibits felons and drug addicts from owning a firearm. Handgun owners must also be 21 years of age or older.
“Carrying a handgun without a license is still illegal in this state, and all other requirements for obtaining a carry license still apply,” Platkin said.
But the ruling upends a century-old New Jersey standard used to limit handguns.
“It’s not tomorrow you get on NJ Transit with a .40 caliber. It’s not the reality because there’s always a clearance process,” said William Castner, Murphy’s firearms adviser. , in an interview. “But the reality is that it’s going to be culturally shocking in a state like New Jersey, that a lot more people carry guns in public and will lead to more gun violence deaths.”
The case ruled on by the Supreme Court, known as the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. vs. Bruenwill likely spark a stampede in blue states like New Jersey, New York and California to close what Democrats see as a hole in the side of their gun control regimes — and by gun rights advocates to fire to ensure that these boundaries remain tight.
“The Bruen decision marks the end of New Jersey’s decades-long interference with peoples’ basic right to self-defense with a firearm outside the home,” said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs. “It also spells the end of many other New Jersey laws that also violated other aspects of the Second Amendment.”
Murphy said his administration anticipated Thursday’s decision and offered “options that we believe are still available to us regarding who can carry concealed weapons and where they can carry them.”
The changes will be based on careful consideration of the court’s ruling, which still allows for restrictions that prevent firearms from falling into the hands of dangerous people, such as criminals, and prevent weapons from being transported in ” sensitive places”, such as schools and government buildings. In New Jersey, firearms are already generally prohibited on school and college campuses.
State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union) told reporters at the Statehouse that he doesn’t think most New Jerseyans want “people carrying guns on their hips in supermarkets.”
“I don’t see the benefit of the decision for this state,” he said. “And I certainly don’t agree with that.”
State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Gloucester), who has been among the most vocal supporters of the Second Amendment in the Legislature, welcomed the court’s decision.
“I love him,” said Durr, who said he was inspired to run for office in part because of his support for gun rights. “I think it was long overdue. I think what we have now is positive proof that the Second Amendment has always been there for the citizens…and New Jersey is going to have to come into line with the rest of the country. “
Gun control advocates are also considering new requirements for licensed individuals, such as requiring them to carry insurance.
But there’s an open question as to whether Murphy can get such restrictions across the finish line. Murphy’s long-blocked third gun package is only now making its way to the state Senate after seeing little action since the governor first gave his support to the legislation for the first time. in April 2021. But the recent mass murders of children in a Texas school and black residents in a New York supermarkets have given gun control new urgency for some politicians, including a group bipartisan in Congress.
Carly Sitrin contributed to this report.