The New Jersey state Senate Budget Committee approved the controversial Concealed Carry Restriction bill this afternoon, setting up a final vote on before the full chamber later this month.
The 8-4 party line vote came just two weeks after the Assembly approved their version of the bill by one vote, 42-29 two weeks ago.
A bill needs 41 votes to pass in the Assembly.
The Senate is expected to bring the legislation to the floor during their next session, on December 22nd.
If it passes the Senate, it will head to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for his signature.
However, the bill is expected to face an immediate court challenge once it is enacted.
Asked by TLS last month whether he thought the bill would stand up in court, Governor Murphy said he was confident the legislation would withstand any potential legal challenges.
“I hope so. I normally wouldn’t talk about bills that are not on our desk, but this one is important to all of us,” he said.
“We are very concerned about the Supreme Court’s steps initially, and then also in staying New York’s laws,” Murphy continued.
“G-d willing this will be crafted in a way that will stand up, because G-d knows we need it,” he added.
The bill was introduced following the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case and therefore removes from current law the justifiable need standard, which was the standard an individual is required to meet to hold a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey.
The bill establishes that a person can be charged with a third degree crime for carrying any firearm, or a crime of the second degree to possess a destructive device, in dozens of locations, including any state owned property, polling booths, public gatherings, educational facilities, school buses, camps, child care centers, parks, libraries, museums, bars and restaurants, performance halls and all health care facilities.
Also included in the sensitive areas where guns will be banned is all private property, including but not limited to residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, institutional, or undeveloped property, unless the owner has provided express consent or has posted a sign indicating that it is permissible to carry on the premises a concealed handgun with a valid and lawfully issued permit to carry.
An earlier version of the bill, sought to also ban firearms in houses of worship, as reported exclusively by TLS, but was dropped from the current version of the bill.