Why It Matters: Sportsmen and women, including recreational shooters, have a crucial role as the primary funders of state-level conservation efforts in New Jersey (and across the nation) and are thus an important constituency that provides benefits for all residents of the state. Anti-firearms legislation, such as A. 4769, poses a significant threat to the state’s conservation funding. In 2021, New Jersey’s sportsmen and women generated over $23.19 million for conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding. Efforts to create unnecessary barriers to entry in the pursuit of hunting and recreational shooting opportunities will serve to undermine this funding System, resulting in a decrease in the much-needed dollars on which the Division of Fish and Wildlife relies.
- On October 24, the New Jersey Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee met and voted 3-2 in favor of Assembly Bill 4769 (A. 4769) – legislation that would create unjust administrative and financial hurdles for the purchase and carrying of firearms.
- Following this Committee hearing, A. 4769 was scheduled to be raised on the Assembly floor on October 27, though it was prematurely withdrawn from the voting session so that Assembly leadership could review the language.
- In addition to weighing-in at the Committee-level, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of opposition to the entire General Assembly, calling for its swift rejection of this restrictive legislation.
On October 27, the New Jersey General Assembly convened for what was to be a discussion and vote on Assembly Bill 4769 (A. 4769). In-line with recent legislation passed in the Garden State that limited the abilities of firearms owners, this bill would create significant barriers to entry for all current and future firearms owners. A. 4769 would prohibit the issuance of a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card to individuals who are “lacking the essential character” to be in possession of a firearm. It would also increase the application fee for carrying a handgun to $200, raise the application fee for permits to purchase a handgun and for firearms purchaser identification cards, and prohibit firearms in “sensitive places,” which includes “parks and other recreation spaces.”
Despite being calendared for a vote last Thursday, A. 4769 was removed from the voting schedule, as Assembly leadership wants the opportunity to review the mechanics of the bill. This decision was made following a similar policy regarding “sensitive locations” in New York receiving a temporary restraining order in federal court two weeks ago. Despite the Assembly leadership’s decision to review the language, it’s worth highlighting that A. 4769 was voted out of the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee by a vote of 3-2 in support earlier last week. As CSF previously reported, this legislation has been alive for only two and a half weeks, yet it has cleared three Committees. CSF submitted testimony in opposition to the bill while it was before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and then distributed a letter against this bill to the entire General Assembly. The Assembly is not scheduled to meet again until November 14.
CSF will remain engaged on this topic and will provide updates as they are made available.