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Governor signs 6 gun control measures in New Jersey

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey on Wednesday enacted measures to tighten its already strict gun control laws.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the half-dozen bills that began advancing after the fatal high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February that left 17 people dead. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Alfonso Calderon joined Murphy on stage.

In a tweet Tuesday Murphy mentioned the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, saying "our hearts are heavy" on the two-year anniversary of the attack and saying that New Jersey now has some of the country's toughest gun laws.

New Jersey joins other states, including Florida and Vermont, enacting gun control measures since the Parkland shooting, which set off a series of rallies across the country aimed at reducing gun violence through tighter laws. Murphy on Wednesday explicitly brought up the midterm elections and called on voters to pick candidates who will vote for "common sense" gun control legislation.

The six measures will:

—Require the seizure of firearms when a mental health professional determines someone poses a threat.

—Allow for an extreme risk protective order if a court deems someone poses a significant danger to themselves or others. The temporary court order bars the subject from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition.

—Require background checks for private gun sales

—Lower the magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10, with an exception for a popular .22-caliber rifle.

—Require residents to show a "justifiable need" to get a carry permit.

—Prohibit body-armor-penetrating ammunition.

While the legislation has earned the praise of gun control advocates, including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, it has also merited scorn from gun rights advocates who say the measure won't increase safety.

"None of the bills signed today will make anyone safer," said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, said in a statement. He added that lawmakers have limited citizens' ability to defend themselves while missing an opportunity to make schools safer and prevent those with mental health issues from acquiring firearms in the first place.

The legislation went through an emotional hourslong meeting that included moms who support tighter gun laws wearing red T-shirts that read Moms Demand Action, self-identified National Rifle Association members and even a former Indy Car racer who worried about his rights being eroded.

"I do fear in the next 50 to 100 years a tyrannical government," former racer PJ Chesson told lawmakers earlier this year, adding that he wants to keep his right to body-armor-piercing bullets and higher rounds.

Murphy, who succeeded term-limited Republican Chris Christie this year, campaigned on the promise to strengthen the state's laws. Current state law bans assault weapons, limits magazine clip sizes and requires permits to carry a concealed weapon.

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