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Measures Passed By Legislature Would Bring Tougher Gun Laws To New Jersey

June 07, 2018 - 9:10 am

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved on a number of measures aimed at tightening the state's gun laws.

Declaring it the state’s response to a national crisis, the lawmakers on Thursday sent a half-dozen measures tightening the state's already-strict gun control laws to Gov. Phil Murphy's desk.

The Democratic-led Senate approved the bills that began advancing after a fatal high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead in February.

"This is our response to our national crisis," said Democratic state Sen. Richard Codey, who served as governor from 2004 to 2006. "We need national legislation."

Murphy has said he's supportive of the measures as part of a campaign promise for more "sensible" gun-control laws.

The legislation, previously approved by the Assembly, has seen a number of hearings, including an emotional hourslong meeting that featured moms wearing red T-shirts who supported tighter gun laws, self-identified National Rifle Association members and even a former Indy Car racer who worried about his rights being eroded.

The measures have earned the scorn of gun rights advocates who say they won't protect people and only hurt law-abiding residents.

"None of the bills passed today will make anyone safer," said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs. "Lawmakers have squandered an important opportunity to make our schools safer and prevent those with serious mental health issues from obtaining firearms in the first place."

Bach said his group plans to pursue legal action to have them overturned.

Some of the measures require the seizure of firearms when a mental health professional determines someone poses a threat. Another bill requires background checks for private gun sales. Another lowers the magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10, with an exception for a popular .22-caliber rifle.

Another bill requires residents to show a "justifiable need" to get a carry permit. One measure prohibits body-armor-penetrating ammunition. The sixth bill establishes an "extreme risk protective order" against people a court determines pose a significant danger, prohibiting those people from having or buying guns or ammo.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)