Gun vendors selling to NJ must follow safety protocols under Murphy's latest executive order

Mike DeNardo
September 10, 2019 - 4:55 pm
Gov. Phil Murphy

Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office via Flickr

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MORRISTOWN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey is taking even more steps to strengthen its gun control policies — and Gov. Phil Murphy is using the power of the purse.  

If gun manufacturers and dealers want to sell firearms to New Jersey, Murphy said they must follow the state's gun control policies, including proper background checks on individuals in order to keep weapons out of the hands of people with a history of domestic violence or mental illness.  

Murphy put pen to paper during a Tuesday morning ceremony in Morristown, alongside gun control advocates and Col. Patrick Callahan, the superintendent of the state police, who supported the action.

"We have committed New Jersey to a whole-of-government approach to tackle gun violence. And now, under this executive order that I'll sign in a few moments, we will commit to bringing the gun manufacturing industry and gun retailers along with us," he said.

The Garden State spends about $70 million a year on guns and ammunition for New Jersey State Police. 

Under the order, a division of the state treasury will request the vendors and retailers selling guns and ammunition to the state to adhere to public safety principles. Those include preventing, detecting and screening for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers and firearm traffickers.

Prospective bids for guns and ammo under the order are to require that each vendor adhere to those principles in order to win the bid. 

The order also calls on the state treasury to request information from any financial institutions the state does business with on whether they have adopted codes of conduct on gun safety. Murphy estimated that the state pays about $1 billion in fees to these institutions. 

Finally, the order calls on the state Department of Banking and Insurance to prohibit or limit insurance products that "encourage the improper use of firearms.''

Second Amendment advocates and Republicans, however, criticized the order.

Scott Bach, the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, an affiliate of the NRA, said instead the state should punish "actual wrongdoers'' more severely. 

"Trying to coerce gun manufacturers into limiting what they sell to the law-abiding public restricts Second Amendment rights but makes no one safer,'' Bach said in an emailed statement to AP. 

Doug Steinhardt, the state GOP chairman, said the order amounted to criminalizing certain gun retailers and called on the governor to do something "meaningful'' to combat gun crimes. 

This executive order is the latest in a series of laws and executive orders aimed at making New Jersey's gun policies — already described as the second-toughest in the nation, behind California — even tougher.

Last year, Murphy signed a number of bills, including a measure capping magazines at 10 rounds, down from 15, as well as so-called red flag legislation.

"We want those who do business with New Jersey to share our values and be committed to ending the scourge of gun violence in our communities,'' Murphy added.

The order takes effect immediately.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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