New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he expects the state Legislature to introduce a bill creating gun-free zones in the next two months, to restrict weapons in public spaces — and in any private homes where an owner hasn't explicitly allowed them.
Speaking on WNYC’s Ask Governor Murphy on Tuesday night, Murphy said such a measure was “imminent” — clarifying that to mean “as in the next month or two” — and would mitigate the effects of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it easier for licensed owners to carry concealed handguns in public.
The June court ruling struck down a key provision in New York’s firearms law that required residents of that state to prove they needed to carry guns in public. It affects states like New Jersey, which has a similar “justifiable need” test for concealed carry permits, and which is broadly regarded as having some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation.
In July, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul quickly signed into law a bill banning guns in Times Square, the subway system, and other public spaces.
Murphy issued an executive order shortly after the court ruling, requiring state agencies to review their statutes and regulations and determine whether they could designate gun-free zones. But so far, no legislation barring guns from public spaces in New Jersey has been introduced.
On Tuesday, Murphy said churches, entertainment venues and even private property “unless you the homeowner explicitly says otherwise" would be designated as gun-free areas under a proposed bill.
“We need that now based on the actions of this very right-wing U.S. Supreme Court,” he said.
He said action hasn’t come more quickly for “mostly benign reasons here” — due to other legislative activity and because the Legislature only recently came back into session.
“I don't want to speak for [the Legislature], but I'm confident this ball will be rolling, and God willing, will get something sooner than later,” he said.
"Ask Governor Murphy" is a production of WBGO in Newark in partnership with WNYC and WHYY. It’s hosted by Nancy Solomon, a senior reporter for WNYC and Gothamist.