How they voted: NJ Assembly approves new limits on carrying guns
TRENTON – Legislation that seeks to establish new rules and limits for the carrying of concealed handguns in New Jersey cleared a major hurdle Monday when the Assembly passed it after more than an hour and a half of tense debate.
Scroll down to see the list of how they voted.
The bill went through extensive revisions and rewrites in route to being endorsed four times by committees over the last month and finally garnered the support needed to gain approval in a 43-29 vote, with one abstention.
Its next stop is the Senate budget committee, which is next due to meet on Dec. 5. There is one remaining voting session on the Senate’s calendar this year, on Dec. 22.
The state during Gov. Phil Murphy’s tenure has initiated a few packages of additional gun-control measures, but the current bill was written by Democrats in response to the Supreme Court decision in June, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, that indirectly struck down New Jersey’s system for limiting who can have a license to carry a gun outside their home.
“Because of Bruen, more New Jerseyans will die as a result of gun violence,” said Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-Somerset. “The question before us now is: How many will die?”
The bill requires more comprehensive background checks, requires people to go through training and buy liability insurance, raises costs for permits and prohibits permit holders from carrying guns in many areas deemed sensitive.
Republicans insisted the bill will be found unconstitutional under the guidelines set by the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling, eventually prompting Danielsen to proclaim he is “100,000% confident this bill is constitutionally defendable.”
But Republican after Republican stood up to criticize the bill and Democrats for advancing it.
“The real goal among many of you, quite frankly, is to take the guns away,” said Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex. “You say pro-Second Amendment. You don’t pass bills like this if you’re pro-Second Amendment. This is really about a distress or a hatred towards firearms.”
“New Jersey already has the most strict, oppressive gun laws in the nation. Creating more will only add insult to injury for the millions of law-abiding citizens who either own firearms or intend on purchasing them in the future,” said Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, R-Monmouth. “They already have to deal with a labyrinth of regulations. Piling more on top of them only hurts the honest New Jerseyans.”
“The restrictions are unreasonable. It’s almost like it’s designed to confuse people, to trip them up, so that it would make them criminals if they step out of line one little bit,” said Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-Warren. “There’s very little clarity here.”
“Quite honestly, this bill is nothing more than a legislative insurrection against our Constitution and the people of the United States and is a threat to our democracy, when we try to take away people’s constitutional rights – their liberty,” said Assemblyman Erik Peterson, R-Hunterdon.
After ceding the floor to Republicans for much of the discussion, a number of Democrats spoke in support of the bill – and to criticize Assemblyman Brian Bergen, R-Morris, who said Danielsen had lied to the Assembly and criticized “the lunacy, the stupidity” of the legislation.
“It is not disingenuous,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-Camden. “It is not unconstitutional to try to figure out what the ramifications of this should be and what the regulations should be. We have a right to try to protect the public safety and at the same time, walk the line to protect the Second Amendment.”
HOW THEY VOTED
(Democrats in blue, Republicans in red)
YES: Atkins, Benson, Calabrese, Caputo, Carter, Chaparro, Conaway, Coughlin, Danielsen, DeAngelo, Egan, Freiman, Giblin, Greenwald, Haider, Jeffer, Jasey, Karibinchak, Kennedy, Lampitt, Lopez, McKeon, McKnight, Moen, Moriarty, Mosquera, Mukherji, Murphy, Park, Pintor Marin, Quijano, Reynolds-Jackson, Sampson, Schaer, Spearman, Speight, Stanley, Sumter, Swain, Tucker, Tully, Verrelli, Wimberly
NO: Auth, Barranco, Bergen, Catalano, Clifton, DePhillips, DiMaio, Dunn, Flynn, Gove, Guardian, Kean, Matsikoudis, McCarthy Patrick, McClellan, McGuckin, Peterson, Rumpf, Sauickie, Sawyer, Scharfenberger, Simonsen, Space, Swift, Thomson, Torrissi, Umba, Webber, Wirths
PRESENT, NOT VOTING: Eulner
ABSENT, NOT VOTING: DeFuccio, Jiminez, Munoz, Piperno, Rooney, Timberlake
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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