Month: June 2022

Matthew McConaughey applauds President Joe Biden’s gun control bill

Matthew McConaughey has applauded US President Joe Biden’s new gun control bill as a “step in the right direction” just weeks after a deadly school shooting in the actor’s hometown.

The Oscar-winner has been speaking out on America’s gun control issues in the aftermath of the killing of 19 kids and two teachers at a school Uvalde, Texas in May – and on Saturday (25.06.22) President Biden introduced the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help end gun violence.

Matthew has now praised the president for taking a big step forward, writing in a post on Instagram: “For the first time in 28 years, a meaningful piece of legislation has passed that can usher in a new era of building an American culture of gun responsibility.

“This bill invests in mental health and protest responsible, law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights, due process, and the rule of law. For responsible gun owners, this bill does not take your guns away or restrict your access to fire arms …

“This bill will save innocent lives by keeping guns out of the law breaking and irresponsible hands that are trying to hijack the Second Amendment.”

The actor then added: “While this bill isn’t perfect, it is a shining example of a great American potential and political virtue: the act of compromise and validating an opposing viewpoint …

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“Now that the President has signed this bill into law, I want to remind all of us Americans that we cannot become complacent and wait on a piece of legislation to solve our problems … We each have a duty yo protect our freedom and our rights …

“The choice, as gun owners, gun show organizers, and firearms manufacturers to bear, show and sell arms responsibly.”

Matthew concluded: “Our government took a step in the right direction. Now it’s time for us to remind them AND ourselves what the best of our country is AND can be.”

Prsident Biden’ signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help strengthen weapons regulation and provide funding for mental health support and anti-violence programs.

He said at the time: “I’m about to sign into law a bipartisan gun safety legislation. And time is of the essence. Lives will be saved.”

According to a White House briefing, the bill enhances “certain restrictions and penalties on firearms purchases” while it also promotes safety practices in schools as well as providing funding for mental health and anti-violences causes.

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N.J. gun package continues advancing as Supreme Court guts concealed carry laws

N.J. gun package continues advancing as Supreme Court guts concealed carry laws

Senate vote on gun bills likely next week

By Joey FoxJune 23 2022 4:36 pm

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s concealed carry restrictions this morning, the New Jersey Legislature continued taking steps in the opposite direction, with two committees passing a series of bills further strengthening the state’s gun laws.

Most importantly, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee approved seven gun bills backed by Gov. Phil Murphy, clearing them for a possible vote next Monday. (An eighth bill had already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.) Six bills were also passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today, all of which previously came before the Assembly Judiciary Committee just yesterday.

If signed into law, the bills would add new requirements for firearm purchaser identification cards (FPICs), regulate ammunition sales, ban most .50 caliber weapons, and many other things; see the bottom of this story for full details on every bill.

Looming over the day’s proceedings was the Supreme Court’s ruling, which will undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on New Jersey’s existing laws. Precise details aren’t entirely clear yet, but the ruling likely nixes many of New Jersey’s concealed-carry restrictions, which are similar to New York’s, and may open up the state’s other gun laws – including the bills under discussion now – to further legal action.

Gov. Phil Murphy, whose administration has helped shape New Jersey into the state with the second-strictest gun regulations in the nation, blasted the court’s decision in a statement and said his administration is still figuring out what its effects on New Jersey will be.

“Let there be no mistake – this dangerous decision will make America a less safe country,” he said. “Anticipating this decision, my administration has been closely reviewing options we believe are still available to us regarding who can carry concealed weapons and where they can carry them. We are carefully reviewing the court’s language and will work to ensure that our gun safety laws are as strong as possible while remaining consistent with this tragic ruling.”

Notably, however, the governor stopped short of calling on the legislature to convene a special session this summer, which New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has said she may do.

Responding to last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Murphy had called for the legislature to pass his third package of gun control legislation, which he first introduced in April 2021 and which had become stalled in the legislature.

This week finally represented a dam break, with most of the governor’s bills coming up before committees in both chambers. It’s the Senate committee hearing that’s the real breakthrough; a similar package died in the Senate last legislative session under former Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), and new Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Linden) was circumspect on the bill package’s future as recently as last Thursday.

“We’re looking at them bill by bill, making sure that we bring commonsense gun solutions to the people of New Jersey, and to ensure the bills that we pass could have an impact on gun violence,” Scutari said at the time.

So far, the bills have passed almost entirely on party-line votes; no Democrat has yet voted no or abstained on any bill. One bill increasing criminal penalties for the manufacture and transportation of ghost guns has passed unanimously in both chambers’ committees, and State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) also voted in favor of a second bill requiring FPICs for those moving to New Jersey from out of state.

If the bills reach Murphy’s desk, he is very likely to sign them, though not all are technically part of his original eight-bill package. Of the nine gun bills that have come before a committee in the last two days, four are from the governor’s package, three are updated versions of his initial bills, and two are entirely new.

Just as they did yesterday, a number of gun rights advocates and lobbyists testified against the bills in committee today – among them State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan), who has become a prominent gun proponent in state government since he took office earlier this year.

“New Jersey already has gun laws that are among the most restrictive in the entire nation,” Durr said. “These new proposals will only impact law-abiding citizens who will suffer a further erosion of their rights and who will find themselves charged for technical violations of the law.”

“I’ve worked tirelessly with my colleagues on trying to create a balanced approach to this legislation,” responded Scutari, who was present for the first few minutes of the Senate committee hearing today. “Gun violence is not a simple problem… There are a lot of safety measures that we do need to continue to take – and I’m a gun owner.”

While Scutari appears committed to pushing for most of the governor’s gun package, two bills have been left behind. One that would raise the age for obtaining an FPIC from 18 to 21 cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee yesterday but wasn’t posted in the Senate today; another that would add safe storage requirements for firearms hasn’t come up for a vote in any committee.

According to State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), the lead sponsor on both dropped bills and a perennial advocate for gun control in the legislature, neither has the support necessary to pass with the rest of the package next week.

“In the consensus that is the New Jersey Legislature, there’s not enough votes to pass those,” he said. “As a result of that, they won’t be part of this package.”

Asked about next steps following the decision from the Supreme Court, Cryan said that he intends to pursue legislation to push back against the ruling and maintain New Jersey’s restrictions.

“I certainly hope we pass bills here, and I hope we do it sooner than later,” he said. “I’m certainly going to try to write one that ultimately ends up getting back to the court so that maybe, instead of a Mitch McConnell America, we can have a commonsense America.”

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The details on all ten bills

Bills on track for passage

S1204 / A1179
This bill would require out-of-state firearm owners moving into the state to obtain a firearm purchaser identification card within 60 days; an amendment passed in committee today adds a 30-day grace period for first-time offenders.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 4-1
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-1-1
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 6-4

S1893 / A1765
This bill would increase the attorney general’s ability to bring legal action against gun manufacturers and retailers who they determine to have “knowingly or recklessly endanger[ed] the public health and safety.”
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 7-3
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2

S2846 / A4367
This bill would upgrade various crimes related to the manufacture or transportation of ghost guns and other untraceable guns from the 3rd degree to the 2nd degree.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 5-0
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 5-0

S2847 / A4369
This bill would prohibit the possession of body armor in most cases, and requires registration for those who do possess body armor.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 3-1-1
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-0-2
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 5-4

S2903 / A1302
This bill would require those purchasing ammunition to show a driver’s license or other government issued photo ID; current law already requires them to show a firearm purchaser identification card (FPIC) or handgun permit. The original bill also established a reporting and tracking system for ammunition sales, but that was removed in committee and will likely no longer be a part of the bill.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 3-0-2
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 6-4

S2905 / A4366
This bill would ban .50 caliber weapons by labeling them a “destructive device.”
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 6-4

S2906 / A4370
This bill requires additional training for those trying to obtain an FPIC, and makes FPICs expire after a certain period of time. The original bill set that time period at four years and included existing FPICs; committee amendments changed the period to ten years and excluded existing FPICs.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 5-4

S2907 / A4368
This bill requires retailers to sell microstamp-enabled firearms, pending a decision from the attorney general about their commercial availability.
Passed Senate Law and Public Safety Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee 6-4

Bills likely nixed from package

S504 / A509
This bill would increase from 18 to 21 the age at which someone is eligible to receive an FPIC, meaning that most people under 21 would be ineligible to purchase or possess any type of firearm, with certain exceptions.
Passed Assembly Judiciary Committee 3-2
No action in Senate

The “Safe Storage of Firearms Act” would impose new requirements for the storage of guns, requiring that firearms be unloaded, placed in a gun safe or locked box, and stored separately from ammunition.
No action in Assembly or Senate







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