Murphy vows to overturn Christie-era gun law

BY Brenda Flanagan, Senior Correspondent |

“There already are too many guns in our streets, and simply adding more into the equation will not make us or our communities any safer,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy capped an active first full week as governor, and thrilled a roomful of red-shirted gun control advocates, by announcing he’ll reinstate tougher regulations for New Jersey gun owners to obtain concealed carry permits.

“Our administration will begin the process of rescinding the Christie administration’s unilateral attempt to extend concealed carry beyond what our law already says,” he said.

“On behalf of the Legislature, I’m here to say, we agree. We absolutely agree. Concealed weapons don’t belong in New Jersey,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Christie had broadened concealed carry permit regulations last March, allowing more gun owners to obtain them by citing generalized fears. Democratic lawmakers sued, but it’ll be a moot point. Quoting the State Supreme Court, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said concealed carry standards will again be very rigorous requiring the following: “… specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by any other means.”

New Jersey’s Second Amendment Society’s scathing response said, “Governor Murphy, be as exposed to danger as the citizens are every day; disarm the statehouse police completely. Otherwise you’re just another elitist hypocrite who thinks his life is more worthy of protection than ours.”

Murphy also updated Thursday’s sudden crisis in Highland Park, where ICE agents arrested two Indonesian immigrants, and stalked a third, as they all brought their children to school. One took refuge in a church. Murphy’s staff complained to ICE and Homeland Security that their agents should avoid school areas, period.

“Dropping off your children, picking them up from schools, student safety, all the attendant concerns of having law enforcement operations on schools, should apply to the area around schools,” said Grewal.

Continuing his resistance to the Trump administration, Murphy announced that New Jersey will join other states and challenge the federal tax reform law in court. Murphy says, it unfairly targets blue states, by slashing SALT deductions and hurting their ability to fund education and other programs. The economic uncertainty is already affecting Sweeney’s position on passing a millionaire’s tax.

“I’m not saying it’s dead, I’m just saying it’s not on the top of my list. We’ve got to look at everything, Charlie. How about we start looking at how we run our government,” said Sweeney.

Legislative leaders are compiling a list of items to discuss with the governor — taxes, the budget and gun laws are all on it.