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NJ gov proposes 20x cost increase for gun permits

Row of handguns. (US Coast Guard Academy/Released)
April 23, 2019

Gun permit fees could be increased twentyfold in New Jersey if the state adopts the governor’s proposed fee increases.

Democrat Gov. Philip D. Murphy wants to raise the cost of a firearm identification card from $5 to $100, the cost of a gun permit from $2 to $50, and a carry permit from $20 to $400, the New York Times reported.

In addition, Murphy wants an ammunition excise tax of 10 percent and a firearms excise tax of 2.5 percent. He wants to utilize the new revenue to curb gun violence and illegal guns.

If Murphy’s proposed plan is set to law, New Jersey would have some of the most expensive fees in the country.

The current charges for gun owners and applicants have been the same for around six decades now.

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Murphy said, “There’s no war on responsible gun owners. We can support the efforts of the attorney general, state troopers, county and local law enforcement, to do the stuff we need to do track crime, track gun violence, combat trafficking of illegal guns.”

He added, “I was in Jersey City. It’s at least $10 to get a dog license in Jersey City. It’s still $2 to get a permit to purchase a firearm in New Jersey.”

Murphy’s proposal is stirring up much controversy by pro-gun groups and even among his Democrat associates in the state legislature who fear the price increase will make their constitutional rights unaffordable.

Cody McLaughlin, spokesman for the pro-hunting group, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance said, “This is clear bullying of law-abiding gun owners in the state. You’re talking about sportsmen that are already paying hundreds of dollars a year in license fees.”

Gun control groups support raising the fees associated with owning a gun that would be used to support various gun control programs.

Jonas Oransky, the legal director at Everytown for Gun Safety said, “We think it’s a smart way to legislate. We support strong data-driven intervention programs and think that it makes sense to fund them by raising revenue from gun purchasers.”

However, a study at Southern Illinois University reported that higher fees alone would not reduce gun violence.

Daniel L. Feldman, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice said, “Most crime guns in the Northeast are thought to come from the ‘iron pipeline’ from the South, and then they’re sold on the street.”

Democrat legislative leaders are still not convinced about Murphy’s proposal, stating that residents pay enough taxes.

Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president said, “I think we’ve done a lot of gun reform in this state. We are the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to gun reform. Just to check a box to say you did something, I’m not sure that’s necessary. I don’t think it’s going to raise a lot of money.”

Lisa Caso, who owns Caso’s Gun-A-Rama in Jersey City said, “It’s going to affect gun shops tremendously. It’s going to deter a lot of people from buying permits. In our business, you have people coming in who barely have money to buy the most modestly priced guns, which are around $300.”

“I think what Murphy would want to happen is for every gun shop in the state of New Jersey to just close,” she added.

Murphy’s proposals, which are projected to raise about $9 million, are part of the state budget which the Legislature must pass by June 30.