Gun Control Laws Are About to Get Stricter in New Jersey

March 27, 2018, 4:10 PM UTC

New Jersey lawmakers are tightening up its already strict gun control laws, empowered by the recent wave of student protests that erupted in response to a Florida mass shooting at a high school that killed 17 people.

This isn’t a case of lawmakers declaring they will debate the issue. The state legislature is already taking action. A variety of gun control bills were approved Monday by the Democratic-controlled State Assembly. The bills must be approved by the state Senate, which is widely expected to happen, before heading to Gov. Philip D. Murphy to sign into law. The state Senate has a Democratic majority. Murphy is also a Democrat.

The gun control efforts underway in New Jersey are striking for their breadth. The half dozen gun control bills approved by the state Senate tackle various aspects of firearms. One bill would ban ammunition capable of penetrating body armor. Another would limit the magazine capacity of guns to 10 rounds. Background checks for private gun sales would be required by another bill, if its signed into law. Perhaps the most controversial is a bill that would require residents to show a “justifiable need” for a permit to carry a gun. If this particular bill passes, an applicant would have to show they had been threatened or subject to attack to get approval for a gun permit.

New Jersey already has one of the strictest gun control laws. In 2016, New Jersey had the 6th lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states, according to data from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The state already requires residents to have a permit to buy any handgun and a separate permit to purchase long guns. New Jersey also prohibits the purchase or possession of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses as well as those subject to protective orders, and limits the number of handguns that may be purchased to one per month.

Fortune plotted the number of gun provisions in each state against each state’s gun homicides in attempt to gauge the impact of such laws. Fortune used research by the State Firearm Laws project and Gun Violence Archive statistics. Correlation does not equal causation. However, the revealed trend is striking: States with more gun provisions consistently see fewer gun deaths, according to the data sets.

New Jersey, which has 275 gun laws on the books, has a firearm death rate of 2.6 per 100,000 people. Louisiana has the highest firearm death rate a 10.2 per 100,000 people and 12 gun control laws.

In some cases, states have few laws and low firearms death rates (Vermont and Wyoming are two examples). However, the data generally shows states with fewer gun control laws with much higher rate of firearm death.