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Democratic state lawmakers rewrite gun carry laws to require insurance, non-family references to carry a gun

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

New legislation rolled out by New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday could require insurance to carry a firearm in the state. The new requirements also restrict where permit holders are allowed to carry guns.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that citizens have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Following the decision, Democrat lawmakers in New Jersey were quick to ratchet up state restrictions.

“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 Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D). “This bill, ensuring gun owners prove a legitimate reason for carrying concealed handguns in public, is a promising step in the right direction.”

Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Nicholas Scutari reported that the new legislation unveiled on Thursday will prevent permit holders from carrying a firearm in schools, government buildings, polling places, bars, restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, parks, airports, casinos, and childcare facilities.

Those applying for a concealed carry permit would be required to have accidental discharge insurance. According to Scutari, marketplaces already offer similar insurance plans.

Permit applicants would also need to participate in gun safety training and obtain non-family references to vouch for their character.

The legislation creates new screening that would disqualify individuals with convictions and past violations of restraining orders. In addition, applicants with concerning “character of temperament” – which the legislation did not define – will also be disqualified.

Permitting fees would increase to compensate for costs related to the new provisions and to provide funding to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office.

Democratic lawmakers are marketing the concealed carry legislation as the “toughest in the nation,” which they noted was modeled after a new gun law passed in New York that is now being challenged. Therefore, the New Jersey lawmakers anticipate that their proposed legislation will face similar legal challenges.

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

The Assembly is expected to vote on the legislation later this month.

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