In The News: States Continue To Push For Tighter Gun Control

New Jersey

New Jersey already has a reputation for having some of the tightest gun laws in the U.S. But gun control advocates may soon be able to boast the Garden State is the most stringent of any state.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a half-dozen new measures into law Wednesday — which will reduce magazine capacity, ban armor-piercing bullets, make it tougher to obtain a permit to carry a handgun, expand background checks on private gun sales, and keep firearms out of the hands of people deemed a threat to themselves and others in New Jersey.

The governor acknowledged the state’s tough firearm rules once he took office & took multiple executive actions soon after he was sworn in, to constrict access to firearms or curb gun violence. But he said there’s reason to further tighten control and has argued New Jersey could be seen as a model for the rest of the nation.

The latest came this month in the form of six bills that he signed into law:

A1217, will create restraining orders in the state allowing family members and others to ask a judge to have a person’s guns seized and ban them from buying weapons for up to a year.

A1181, will mandate law enforcement in the state to seize a person’s guns if a mental health professional determines they pose a threat to themselves.

A2758, will strictly define that state residents need to show a “justifiable need” to obtain a permit to carry a handgun — meaning they must show they face a specific threat to their own safety.

A2757, will require all private gun sales in the state to go through a licensed dealer who can perform an additional background check at the point of sale.

A2759, will create an outright ban in the state on possessing armor-piercing bullets.

A2761, will ban magazines in the state that hold more than 10 rounds, with some exceptions.

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Police Chief Jim Cervera is calling on Congress to pass stricter gun laws like universal background checks.

“All the recommendations that we’re asking for are totally reasonable,” Cervera said in an interview on Friday.

Cervera is a board member of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and recently returned from a meeting with other police chiefs from around the country. During the meeting, the group updated its firearms violence policy to include calling for more background checks, banning high capacity magazines, and reinstating the assault weapons ban.

“I’m very passionate about it because I’ve seen the carnage weapons cause on the street and I see how many weapons that my officers are taking from bad guys every day,” he said.

On Thursday, the department tweeted the chief’s position:

The tweet was met with both support and disagreement:

Cervera says he believes in the second amendment, but wants to have the conversation now and not following a tragedy. “We’re just trying to say can we look at some of this and be a little bit more reasonable?”

Among the changes he’s pushing for, Cervera, a supporter of the 2nd Amenment, is requiring people who’ve had their guns stolen to report the theft to police. He claims seven guns were stolen out of cars last month in the city.

He believes these changes would help protect people and his officers. He has a message to members of Congress, where gun reforms have become a heavily partisan issue. “My message to them is let’s take this emotion out of the conversation. Let’s look at what is rational,” he said.

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