Murphy signs six gun control measures into law

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Several hundred gun control advocates and others turned out at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton Wednesday morning to witness Gov. Phil Murphy signing six gun control bills into law.

The bills reduce firearm magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10; require firearm seizure from individuals posing a threat to themselves or others; outlaw armor-piercing ammunition; authorize restraining orders and firearm seizure warrants if a mental health provider warns law enforcement; require background checks for private gun sales; and tighten the definition of “justifiable need” to get a handgun carry permit.

Among the eight speakers, Alfonso Calderon, a survivor of the Parkland High School massacre in Florida.

“Thank you for taking the trip up here to New Jersey,” Murphy said. “It sends a strong and clear message to our president, to the Republican leadership in Congress and to the corporate gun lobby: we are going to be a leader in the fight for common sense gun safety laws.”

The 16-year old spoke with authority. He chastised Florida Gov. Rick Scott for not wearing a gay pride button in solidarity with the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando out of political expediency.

“We have one message to all of those politicians who won’t wear their pride on their sleeve, who won’t stand up to the NRAs and won’t be decent human beings: we’re going to vote them out,” Calderon said.

Legislators who have been fighting for more gun control for years got a turn to make remarks. Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald spoke with particular passion.

“Is it that hard to grasp the notion that we don’t need armor piercing bullets to go hunt a deer? Is it that hard to understand that when over 90 percent of the residents in this country believe that we should have mental health background checks before you buy a gun, that we had to wait this long to get where we are today?” asked Greenwald.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has been involved in the gun safety issue. He filed an amicus brief in a Massachusetts lawsuit today that seeks to cut down on the right to carry in that state.

“We can read the second amendment. We understand the second amendment, and we respect the second amendment, but that still leaves us a lot of room. It still leaves me a lot of room as chief law enforcement officer in this state to protect our residents and to take actions to protect our residents,” Grewal said.

While this was happening, the New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club filed suit Wednesday against the 10 round magazine limit arguing it’s unconstitutional and that current owners of 15 round magazine clips should at least be grandfathered in.