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Murphy moves to undo Christie's handgun-carry rule

Michael Catalini, Associated Press | 1/26/2018, 5:46 p.m.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday he will roll back Christie administration regulations that were designed to make it ...
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks before signing the first executive order of his administration in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday he will roll back Christie administration regulations that were designed to make it easier to carry handguns.

Murphy, a Democrat, announced the decision at a YMCA in Trenton alongside Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Glenda Torres, the mother of a man who was fatally shot in the city in 2012.

The changes come after the Republican-led House passed legislation that would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons. The bill hasn't passed the GOP-controlled Senate, but Murphy announced his decision on Friday as part of his effort to prevent New Jersey from loosening its strict gun laws.

"There already are too many guns on our streets, and adding more into the equation will not make New Jersey communities any safer," he said.

Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, changed the state's strict "justifiable need" requirement to obtain carry permits for handguns. Under the regulation, residents needed to show they faced "serious" threats. Christie's 2016 change came after he commissioned a panel to study the issue.

The panel was created after Berlin resident Carol Bowne, whose firearm permit application was delayed beyond the statutory limit, was stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend who later killed himself.

Christie created the panel by executive order before launching his presidential campaign, which he later quit after a poor finish in New Hampshire.

The regulatory changes and administrative guidelines meant Christie went around the Democrat-controlled Legislature, which favors stricter gun legislation. Lawmakers were pursuing legal action to stop the regulation, but Grewal indicated Friday the suit likely would be dropped.

Christie's change altered the prior standard requiring residents to show a specific threat.

Murphy's change could take up to six months to go into effect. -- (AP)