A state Assembly panel has made some changes to a new bill that could restrict the concealed carry of guns in New Jersey.
The lawmakers first introduced the legislation last week. It would limit a gun owner’s ability to carry concealed weapons in certain places. But there were concerns that retired law enforcement officers could be arrested if they accidentally carried guns they are authorized to have into restricted areas.
“I don’t want to have any retiree put in a place where they’re going to be charged criminally if by chance they do carry,” says retired New Jersey State Police Lt. George Wren.
The changes also allow towns to make their own rules about places concealed guns are prohibited and require the state attorney general to make clear guidelines for the places like hospitals, airports and schools where handguns are prohibited.
Republicans have objected to the bill, saying the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision this summer gives Americans the right to concealed carry.
“They’ve made so many broad categories, it makes it almost impossible to do,” says Republican Assemblyman Robert Auth.
Democratic Assemblyman Joe Danielsen is a gun owner and hunter. He wrote the bill and says he’s happy with the changes.
But as to whether the bill will pass any constitutional challenges in court, he says, “That’s a very good question. My job is a legislator. I am not a circuit court judge, I’m not a justice on the Supreme Court, my job is to legislate.”
The full Assembly could vote on the bill as soon as this week. It would have to pass the state Senate before it gets to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
“There’s no higher priority for me as a legislator than to