Trenton – A Senate committee today advanced a bill that would set common-sense gun safety standards for carrying concealed firearms in New Jersey. The bill, S-3214, sponsored by Senate President Nick Scutari and Senator Linda Greenstein, was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with a vote of 3-2.
“New Jersey continues to be a leader on gun safety with laws that help keep our communities safe,” said Senator Scutari. “This bill will help prevent gun violence with common-sense standards to require training, promote gun safety and prevent firearms from being carried into sensitive locations. Finally, this new law will help provide a tool for law enforcement in our fight against illegal gun trafficking.”
Acting in response to a ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court that effectively nullified New Jersey’s law regulating concealed carry, the legislation would build on the effective gun laws already in place. It would prevent guns from ending up in the hands of the wrong people by requiring more comprehensive background checks, set training standards, prohibit permit holders from carrying handguns in sensitive public areas, and require insurance coverage to protect and compensate victims, among other measures.
If enacted, the law would provide an additional tool for law enforcement to fight against illegal gun trafficking.
“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stripped away the right for states to regulate who is able to carry concealed weapons in public,” said Senator Greenstein, the chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee. “We must do everything we can to make sure New Jersey families remain safe and protected while enjoying all New Jersey has to offer. I believe this bill is a promising step in the right direction.”
Among other provisions, the legislation:
- Establishes a thorough vetting process for those who apply for concealed carry permits by increasing the number of non-family references who must vouch for applicants, and past violations of restraining orders and convictions.
- Prohibits permit holders from carrying handguns in more than 20 categories of “sensitive safety locations,” including schools, government buildings, polling places, bars and restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, parks, airports, casinos and childcare facilities. This would not apply to active or retired law enforcement officers.
- Requires property owners to opt into allowing permittees to carry on their premises.
- Requires concealed-carry permittees to undergo gun safety training, including a gun range qualification.
- Imposes new insurance requirements on concealed carry permit holders to ensure victims are appropriately compensated and protected.
- Increases permitting fees across the board to cover the cost of stepped-up background checks and these new provisions.
- Funds the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) by channeling revenue from the increased fees.
The bill next goes to the Senate Budget Committee for consideration.