By: Robert Davis

As if there could be any more reasons for gun owners not to travel to New Jersey, the state’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed four new gun control measures into law, including one requiring firearms dealers to sell at least one smart gun.

Smart guns – still in the prototype stage – require fingerprint authentication to be operated, much like a smartphone.

“This is a backdoor attempt to achieve the goal of pricing-out law-abiding gun owners,” Cody McLaughlin, a gun rights activist and contributor to the NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum, told Gunpowder Magazine in an email statement.

“The liberal, anti-gun element in New Jersey figured out they were too ambitious with the original smart gun mandate law and that it delayed development of them, so they softened it in order to spur more working prototypes,” McLaughlin said. “Once a ‘viable’ one hits the market, I guarantee you the ban on non-smart devices will be reinstated, and the average blue collar worker won’t be able to afford a several-thousand-dollar weapon and voila. Shadow ban achieved.”

Smartening Up In Jersey?
In 2002, New Jersey passed a law mandating the sale of smart guns once they became marketable anywhere in the country. Gun rights groups, however, successfully lobbied against the law because of the negative impact it would have on small-time firearm dealers.

Smart guns, which are largely still manufactured in prototype forms, are relatively cheap right now. One can be purchased on eBay for less than $100. But, once they hit the market, analysts expect them to retail for more than $1,000.

The NRA has lobbied extensively against smart guns, arguing that they give gun control advocates a way to mandate purchasing one type of firearm over another.

“[Smart guns] are just another way to shrink the pool of gun owners and limit people’s rights until gun ownership is such a minority right that it is easy to just swipe it off the board entirely,” McLaughlin said.

Other Bills on the Docket
New Jersey’s new gun laws come almost one year to the day after Gov. Murphy signed six gun control laws in an effort to make the state a leader in “common sense” gun reform. Those laws include reducing magazine capacities, outlawing armor-piercing bullets, and expanding background checks.

Along with mandating the sale of smart guns, Murphy is also considering signing bills that would create firearm storage requirements, require firearm owners to renew their identification cards every four years, and require businesses that sell ammunition to track their sales and report them to local police precincts.

“Every single one of those bills is blatant bullying and scapegoating of law-abiding gun owners,” McLaughlin said. “We all want to reduce violent crime – but when has putting the onus on John Q Public, who has never hurt anyone in his life, but likes target shooting on Tuesdays or pheasant hunting before work in the fall, ever reduced violent crime? We need to make the hard, unpopular call and go after the criminals.”

Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at RobertDavis0414 (at)

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