NEWARK, N.J. - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposed sweeping new gun laws for the Garden State Thursday.
The plan includes, among other things, only giving gun permits to residents who take and pass gun safety classes, raising the minimum purchase age to 21, banning .50 caliber weapons, and requiring ammunition sales to be tracked electronically.
"Our black and brown communities have been devastated by the ongoing gun violence epidemic," said Murphy during a press conference at a community center in Newark, New Jersey's biggest city. "New Jersey has a crime gun problem, not a responsible gun owner problem."
Murphy said half of the state's deaths from guns last year came in just five cities, Newark among them.
"Everything is outrageous. This is once again a knee-jerk reaction. It's not going to do anything to reduce crime," said Alex "Alejandro" Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.
"Those rural areas like Warren and Sussex, for instance, have an extremely high rate of gun ownership and the least amount of crime in the state," Roubian said.
New Jersey already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The new, proposed measures are a mix of legislative and executive action.
"Phil Murphy is just out of touch with my constituents and how they live. We have rural and suburban areas. Law enforcement does a great job but cannot be everywhere at all times. There are instances when it can take up to a half hour for law enforcement to respond. In that time, criminals can do a lot of damage and destroy a lot of lives," said State Senator Mike Doherty who represents the 23rd district.
Doherty called the Governor's proposal a political stunt during an election year.
Murphy is up for a second term in November.