On Dec. 22, 2022, Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-4769/S-3214 into law (P.L.2022, c.131). The new law strengthens the state’s handgun carry standards by creating additional disqualifiers for those eligible for a carry permit and expanding the list of sensitive places where individuals cannot carry firearms, including schools and school buses.
The law establishes a list of “sensitive places” where concealed carry is not permissible, including but not limited to the following, with some exceptions for certain law enforcement or private security guards:
- A school, college, university or other educational institution, and on any school bus.
- A childcare facility, including a day care center.
- A nursery school, preschool, zoo, or summer camp.
- Government buildings and locations with government meetings.
- Youth sporting events and recreational facilities, such as public parks, beaches and playgrounds.
- Entertainment venues, including stadiums, arenas, amusement parks, casinos, racetracks and publicly owned libraries and museums.
Under a separate, longstanding law, it is a crime of the third degree to knowingly carry any firearm on the grounds of any school or other educational institution without the written authorization of the “governing officer of the institution.” The new law builds on those protections by prohibiting concealed carry on school grounds, with certain security and law enforcement exceptions outlined in the law.
Additionally, the law expands ineligibility for a carry permit to include persons with an outstanding arrest warrant for an indictable offense, persons subject to certain restraining orders, including persons who have violated either a temporary or a final restraining order, and other groups.
The legislation was part of a package that Murphy unveiled in June 2022 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. In that case, the court held that it is impermissible to require applicants in New York to show “proper cause” to carry a handgun in public, which had the effect of invalidating New Jersey’s longstanding laws restricting public carry to those who could demonstrate a “justifiable need.”
“While I strongly disagree with that decision,” Murphy stated, “we must abide by it, and today’s law fully respects the Second Amendment while keeping guns out of the wrong hands and preventing them from proliferating in our communities. I am proud to sign this commonsense legislation which prohibits carrying guns in sensitive places, including our daycares, hospitals, libraries, and stadiums.”
The New Jersey School Boards Association supported the legislation as it moved through the legislative process. Its prohibitions against concealed carry in sensitive places take effect immediately.