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NJ gov signs law requiring every gun shop sell ‘smart guns’

Governor Phil Murphy (Phil Murphy/WikiCommons)
July 21, 2019

All New Jersey gun retailers will have to offer at least one smart gun for sale to comply with a new law that goes into effect early next year.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill (S101) on Tuesday, along with three other gun bills, in an attempt to toughen the state’s already strict gun laws, NJ.com reported.

The bill that Murphy signed states, “[The bill] requires firearm retailers to have available for purchase at least one personalized handgun approved by the commission and listed on the roster as eligible for sale.”

Smart guns cannot be fired by anyone that doesn’t match the fingerprint identification, so they are intended to be safer than standard guns when it comes to accidental shootings, especially with children. The typical smart gun can work by being harmonized with a watch, bracelet, or through a biometric reader. Any of these methods can be faulty.

During the signing ceremony, Murphy said, “Even though there’s more to do, we must take great pride in what we are doing today. These new laws will send the message we take gun safety and the safety of our communities seriously.”

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The law will go into effect in January, leaving a six-month timeframe for the state to establish a commission that will decide which smart guns will need to be carried at gun stores.

Smart gun technology began to gain leverage under the Clinton Administration but slowed due to issues with the guns and their ability to easily malfunction.

On two occasions, former Gov. Chris Christie prohibited the same bill that Murphy just signed. Christie called it a “reflective of the relentless campaign” by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature “to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales.”

Comparing the new law to a Trojan Horse, the head of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Scott Bach said, “In 2002, the anti-gunners tipped their hand by passing a ban on everything other than a smart gun.”

Bach said that sent “a chilling effect for gun owners” in the state because “they’re using (this) as a vehicle to ban everything else.”

“Gun owners who are normally very interested in new technology … were basically tipped off,” Bach added.

In addition to the new bill, part of Murphy’s plan includes raising the price of a gun license to $50 from the current fee of $2, contending there hasn’t been a price increase since 1966.

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Murphy said, “I’ve tried now twice. We have not scaled the mountain yet. Please help me get there.”

The new law comes one year after Murphy signed six new gun laws as part of his “Gun Safety Package 2.0.”