Danielsen Bill Would Tighten NJ Concealed Carry Gun Laws

State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen has written what supporters call the strictest set of laws regulating the concealed carrying of guns in the country. (File photo.)

A bill whose supporters say will create the strictest concealed-carry law in the country – and who fully expect it to be challenged in court – was introduced in the state Legislature on October 13.

Authored and sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), the bill would require more comprehensive background checks before a permit is issued; prohibit permit holders from carrying handguns in sensitive public areas such as government buildings, sporting arenas and bars; and impose new insurance restrictions, among other measures. 

The proposed legislation – A4769 – has been sent to the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee for its consideration. The companion bill in the state Senate is S3254.

Supporters acknowledge that the bill is destined to be challenged in court, in light of the US Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen, in which a majority of the Court raised the threshold by which states could regulate the carrying of pistols in public.

Franklin native Danielsen, who is a hunter, said he believes the bill will be supported by what he called “common-sense” gun owners.

“As a recreational hunter, I know that commonsense gun reform doesn’t stop sportsmen like me from continuing traditions that have been passed down through our families for generations,” Danielsen said in a press release about the proposed legislation.

“And, as a father, I know how important it is to keep our communities and schools safe,” he said in the release. “There is nothing at odds with promoting responsible gun ownership, gun safety, gun education, and gun training while upholding the Second Amendment.”

“I am proud to have authored this legislation that will strike a balance between promoting public safety and allowing people to exercise their Constitutional rights,” he said in the release.

According to the release, among other provisions, this 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 creating new disqualifications from the permit process such as “character of temperament” and past violations of restraining orders and convictions. 
  • Prohibits permit holders from carrying handguns in broad categories including schools, government buildings, polling places, bars and restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, parks, airports, casinos and childcare facilities. 
  • 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 handgun ownership to ensure victims of an accidental discharge 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 proposed bill was unveiled October 13 at a press conference hosted by state Senate President Nick Scutari and state Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin.

“New Jersey continues to be a leader on gun safety with laws that help keep our communities safe,” Scutari said in the release. “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.”

“This legislation is designed to make New Jersey safer in response to the US Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling that, left unaddressed, would undoubtedly hinder public safety for the more than nine million residents of our state,” Coughlin said in the release. “By ensuring that individuals can only obtain a concealed carry permit after extensive review and appropriate training, we are standing up for victims of gun violence and helping to prevent future tragedies while abiding by the Court’s decision.”

Also at the event was Lauren Knighton, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“The New Jersey legislature has taken a crucial first step in repairing the damage caused by the wrong and dangerous decision the Supreme Court made in Bruen,” she said in the release. “We know what is at stake, and we cannot take our foot off the gas.”

Kris Brown, president of Brady, said her organization “applauds the New Jersey leaders for taking decisive action to protect New Jersey communities from the dangerous implications of the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling.”

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