It should be no surprise to anyone paying attention that Governor Murphy of NJ is no friend of the 2nd amendment. In fact, it seems he will do almost anything he can get away with to infringe on the right to bear arms. He shut down the NJ state police point of contact for the NJ NICS system during the early stages of his COVID-19 pandemic response. This put a 100% stop on all lawful gun transfers within the state of NJ. He deemed the system “non-essential”. He even stated that his view of a safer society has fewer guns and not more guns when confronted about his decision.
His pandemic response not only attacked our 2nd amendment, but almost all of our constitutional rights. Through all executive orders he has shut down protests he disagreed with, yet allowed ones that aligned with his political views to proceed. He has shut down lawful businesses without compensation, slowly choking them out of business and killing most of the state tax revenue-- all in one swoop. He is now looking for anyway he can to get new revenue coming in. What a better way to rake in some money then to charge and tax the people he dislikes most, NJ gun owners.
The plan that is being proposed will raise the fee for a pistol permit from $2 to $50. It would raise the fee for obtaining your Firearms purchasers ID card from $5 to $100. Keep in mind that NJ requires that you obtain a pistol permit for every pistol you plan to purchase, each permit is only good for 90 days, and if you don’t use it within that time period you lose it and the money you paid for it.
This proposal to wring out revenue from people trying to exercise their 2nd amendment rights is not just wrong, it is clearly unconstitutional. In fact the current $2 pistol permit fee and the $5 FID card fee is already unconstitutional! The fact, putting any fee at all on your ability to exercise a constitutional right is appalling. Imagine the reaction if the state of NJ attempted to put a poll tax into effect? It would never fly! The proposal would be called unconstitutional, racist, it would be called a method to suppress minorities, and people of low socioeconomic status from voting. That is exactly what these fees to exercise our 2nd amendment rights are, oppressive and unconstitutional!
The Supreme Court of the United States has already ruled that:
“No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)
“If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)
We are calling on the NJ legislator to change the fees for our pistol permits and firearms purchasers ID cards to $0 and get rid of this requirement all together. These arbitrary documents and fees are not needed. Most other states in the United States do not require these documents because they are 100% unnecessary.
Every single legislator who advocates for increasing or even keeping the current fees to obtain these arbitrary documents is violating the Conspiracy against rights act (18 U.S. Code § 241) and should be held accountable!
Written by Dominick P., Sussex County of New Jersey 2A Sanctuary