New Jersey Gov. Murphy Uses COVID for Cover to Raise Gun Fees and Taxes

Phil Murphy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

By Larry Keane

As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is taking the mantra to a new level by proposing “stronger gun control” in the Garden State. This time, he’s using the COVID-19 pandemic to raise taxes on law-abiding gun owners and those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Gov. Murphy has tried his best during the crisis to penalize lawful gun owners, but now it will be up to the state legislature to approve or reject his new antigun proposals. New Jersey residents shouldn’t hold their breath as antigun Democrats control both chambers by wide margins.

Gun Control for You is Nothing New

More gun control has been a pillar for Gov. Murphy since he took office in 2018. In his first two years in office, he pushed for and signed into law 10 more-stringent gun control laws in a state already known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the country. In 2020, the spreading coronavirus pandemic gave him an opportunity to do even more, and he didn’t delay.

Nearly 5 million Americans became so concerned for their safety and that of their loved ones and property that purchased a firearm for the first time. The reasons were all around us. Reports of local law enforcement becoming stretched thin, criminals being released from jails and quickly committing violent crimes again, and now more recently violent riots and looting in cities and cries of “defund the police” have increased.

Gov. Murphy, who now wants to levy more fees and taxes to close the COVID budget gaps, actively worked to keep gun buyers out of stores. He shut down firearm retailers and related businesses, deeming them “non-essential” at a time when they were most essential. He faced immediate backlash and lawsuits, leading him to backtrack and allow retailers to open again. Gov. Murphy tried explaining his reasoning, stating “I wasn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights.”

Raising Taxes as Means for More Gun Control

New Jersey is already known as a high-taxed blue state operating in the red. Now, to address next year’s budget shortfall and seeing an opportunity to further squelch the Second Amendment, Gov. Murphy proposed massive taxes and fees on firearms and ammunition such that he’d price out thousands of law-abiding citizens from exercising their God-given rights enshrined and protected by the Second Amendment.

Murphy’s budget proposal attempts to close a $5.6 billion – with a “B” – hole in the Garden State by hiking taxes and fees on firearm services and businesses that might generate $6 million. That amounts to one tenth of one percent. It’s antigun window dressing and the governor knows it.

Gov. Murphy’s proposed antigun increases include raising the handgun purchasing permit fee 2,400 percent from $2 to $50; the cost of a firearm ID card by 1,900 percent from $5 to $100; the price of a handgun carry permit 7,900 percent from $50 to $400; the fee for a gun retail dealer license by 9,900 percent from $50 to $500; and the fee for a firearm manufacturer 900 percent from $150 to $1,500. There are, or course, additional fee increases as well.

If it all sounds familiar, it is.  Gov. Murphy tried and failed at this scheme before. This time, though, he’s tying it to a pandemic.

With more New Jersey handgun applications submitted so far in 2020 than in 2018 and 2019 combined, it’s no wonder law-abiding firearm owners, as well as those considering purchasing a gun for the first time, feel threatened. In trying to persuade the Democratic-controlled New Jersey legislature to approve his budget, Gov. Murphy assured elected officials these are “judiciously” considered hikes that are needed. In other words, be thankful the punishment doesn’t go further.

Antigun Birds of a Feather

Gov. Murphy isn’t alone in using the pandemic to infringe on the constitutional rights of lawful Americans. Gov. Murphy’s northern neighbor, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, behaved similarly as did New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. These three governors have something else in common. They all forced gun stores to close during the pandemic despite the Department of Homeland Security saying gun stores are essential business.

So far this year more than 5 million Americans felt so compelled to protect themselves and their families that for the first time they exercised their Second Amendment rights and purchased a firearm. Thousands are from states with these governors at the top.

Punishing those who exercise their rights is abhorrent. Using it as an excuse to cover for poor leadership during a health crisis is not the sort of behavior citizens should expect from their governors.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


  1. avatar Derek G says:

    That fucking shit head!

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Hmm. Tell us how you really feel. 🙂 🙂

      Y’all in Jersey have my condolences, but it’s up to you to fix it. Murphy, etc. don’t listen to folks in MS.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        They don’t listen to people in New Jersey, either.

        1. avatar GunnyGene says:

          Too bad. But, we don’t listen to Murphy or any of the others of his tribe, either. Think I’ll take advantage of our 2A tax holiday this weekend, and drop by my lgs & pick up a gun or 3. 🙂

        2. avatar Ing says:

          Now that’s the way to do it. If I had the $$ at the moment, I’d do the same.

      2. avatar Dev says:

        F that state. I grew up there, left that state 10 years ago, made the mistake of moving to New York so motherF THAT state and left the east coast entirely 7 years ago. I don not regret it for one minute. I like being free.

  2. avatar The Kenosha Kid says:

    After putting millions of citizens out of work, shutting down public services and restaurants, gyms, and serving up old folks in nursing homes with death sentences Filthy Phil Murphy has more tricks up his sleeve.
    The public pensions will magically get bailed out with taxpayer money from income tax revenue that doesn’t exist. He’ll try making everyone believe it was the Scamdemic that caused it all.
    Can’t pay your mortgage and property taxes? Too bad.
    Filthy Phil doesn’t care if you stay in The Garbage State. There are plenty of Hasidics rolling out of Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens who will pay for the privilege of riding the Dorkway and Turdpike south to buy your house, so rent the U-Haul and just leave.

    You’ll be glad you did.

    1. avatar Thixotropic says:

      Voting with your feet is one thing.

      “Elections have consequences…”

  3. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Another slimy dem too cowardly to come out and admit they wanna take your guns!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      They don’t want to take your guns, they just want to stop you from buying any more.

      1. avatar Craig in IA says:

        “They don’t want to take your guns, they just want to stop you from buying any more.”

        Actually, at the price scheme Murphy is proposing, it appears he at least wants people to try to buy more firearms:

        “Gov. Murphy’s proposed antigun increases include raising the handgun purchasing permit fee $2,400 percent from $2 to $50; the cost of a firearm ID card by 1,900 percent from $5 to $100; the price of a handgun carry permit 7,900 percent from $50 to $400; the fee for a gun retail dealer license by 9,900 percent from $50 to $500; and the fee for a firearm manufacturer 900 percent from $150 to $1,500. There are, or course, additional fee increases as well.”

        Of course, NJ would not want you to be able to use them once you had them. Pretty good scheme, even in NJ I doubt it will fly. Good luck out there, kids.

  4. avatar Truddat says:

    First time I went through New Jersey I thought… ‘what a shithole’….

    only thing that’s changed since then is it’s worse…..

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo…" PR says:

      “And over on the left coast:”

      {Leftist En Banc fun-and-games}

      …and this is my not-surprised face.

      Meanwhile, back in “New Germany” (according to a Pennsylvanian cop on a foot bridge) :

      “… the price of a handgun carry permit 7,900 percent from $50 to $400;…”

      Since they as policy don’t issue ‘permits’, the price hike will have no practical effect on the state budget…

      1. avatar Andy says:

        Only people here that get permits to carry are retire cops, judges and those with connections. Normal folks don’t have a snowballs chance in hell.

        1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

          That’s *why* I wrote :

          “…it will have no practical effect on the state budget…”

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        Just like the price hike in Seattle that was supposed to raise millions for “gun violence prevention” didn’t garner anywhere near the amounts touted–but did force one of the two remaining gun stores to relocate out of town (which was probably the actual impetus for the tax), these taxes are intended to discourage gun purchases.

        1. avatar Craig in IA says:

          So, did the relocation hurt the LGS’s sales? Sounds like a good move to me…

  5. avatar NH Guy says:

    I know this has been beaten to death but it just amazes me that these State and local governments are allowed to force citizens to pay a fee in order to exercise an enumerated right. I mean, isn’t a pol tax illegal? How about a state license to operate a printing press (or printer for your computer?), or making congregants pay a tax to go to church?

    It just seems that everything has been turned topsy turvy since the Constitution was implemented. Instead of the “government” having just enough power and financial resources to accomplish well defined duties and no more, now we have a government comprised of a ruling class with the unlimited power to force people to obey THEIR often arbitrary and capricious whims.

    It is my firm belief that we are more highly taxed and less free today than we were under British rule.

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

      “It is my firm belief that we are more highly taxed and less free today than we were under British rule.”

      Yup. That leaves ‘The People’ all kinds of options to rectify the situation, and return this nation to it’s proper path…

      {Wink-wink, nudge-nudge}…

      1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        Do I feel bad that when the inevitable coming conflict breaks out, one side will be well armed and the other not?

        Well I might if the unarmed side wasn’t actively fighting against their God given constitutional right to be armed. Some politicians are demanding to find out the hard way what happens when they assign no value to their own self preservation.

        1. avatar NH Guy says:

          Don’t assume that “our” side will be better armed. “Their” side has the same access to weapons as we do.

          If you watch Antifa and BLM in action, they have a hard core bunch who are well organized, who use comms to coordinate with one another, and who have a logistics base to deliver everything from H2O to rocks and bricks to them. Many of this hard core group look like former military by the way they have their plate carriers set up and the equipment they have on them. Before he was kicked out of the Army, Spenser Rapone was a West Point grad, who was Ranger and Airborne qualified…and he is a flaming commie. Don’t think there aren’t others like him on the other side.

          “Our” side is hampered by a couple of things. First, most of us are naturally law abiding and don’t believe in mob violence. Secondly, our side doesn’t have a George Soros like sugar daddy willing to pay for equipment and logistics. Third, our side isn’t organized. Lastly, their side can turn out thousands of supporters willing to do whatever it takes while our side has trouble turning out even a couple of hundred.

          Don’t underestimate the opposition. They hate us with a burning passion and have no problem using extreme violence to get their way. The Israelis told their fighter pilots to regard every opponent they flew against as the worlds best fighter pilot. We would do well to prepare ourselves the same way.

        2. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo…" PR says:

          “Don’t assume that “our” side will be better armed.”

          I’m not underestimating that some members are ex-military, maybe even some ex-special forces. I concede that.

          However – The hard truth is, 80 percent-plus of military members identify as politically-conservative.

          We will have a very deep bench to draw from. Over 100,000 over the last 20 years? A team with recent combat experience in urban warfare, and all the dirty tricks that go with that environment. Booby-traps, IEDs, all kinds of nasty ‘surprises’.

          I’m liking our odds… 🙂

    2. avatar Ing says:

      You can trace the current predicament directly back to the 16th and 17th amendments, ratified in 1912 and 1913, during the first so-called Progressive Era.

      After that, the Senate no longer directly represented the states and the federal government could directly tax the people and keep the money for itself. The American people didn’t want a republic of united states, voted not to keep it, and now here we are.

  6. avatar "That guy" in the room says:

    The author should stick to writing and not try to be a mathematician.
    Yet, appreciate calling out the radical anti-gun antics.

    2400% of 2 = 48 (wrong); 2 -> 50 = 2500%
    1900% of 5 = 95 (wrong); 5 -> 100 = 2000%
    7900% of 50 = 3950 (wrong); 50 -> 400 = 800%
    9900% of 50 = 4950 (wrong); 50 -> 500 = 1000%
    900% of 150 = 1350 (wrong); 150 -> 1500 = 1000%

    A for effort.
    F for calculations. (hope he’s not dialing in DOPE)

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

      “(hope he’s not dialing in DOPE)”

      Dialing for dope, or dealing in dope? 😉

      1. avatar Defens says:

        DOPE means Data On PreviousEngagement. It refers to keeping a record of rifle scope settings for previous shots at various ranges and varying environmental conditions (particularly temp, humidity, elevation, and barometric pressure.) In short, its a reference you keep to dial in scope settings.

        1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

          *Woosh*, I missed that one clean.

          I thought he was referring to a drug dealer with poor math skills, as that would bankrupt him… 😉

        2. avatar Durrrrrrr says:

          Geoff the Goof is a complete 🤡.

        3. avatar Geoff "Trolls, the other white meat" PR says:

          Awwwwww, widdle troll, I wondered where you went!

          Did mommy ground you from using the ‘puter? 🙂

        4. avatar Durrrrrrrrr says:

          Nah, just took some time off…

    2. avatar Umm . . . says:

      “That Guy”,
      I generally don’t INITIATE nitpicking of others over minor arithmetic or semantic details – but since I can’t stand to either be “corrected” incorrectly or see it done to others, I feel no qualms about counterfire. Mr. Keane made two minor typos in that section (“9900%” for 900% and putting a dollar sign in front of “2400%”), but is otherwise correct. The irony is that you showed the work that proves it.

      Had the author written that Gov. Murphy intends to increase fees TO X% of the original costs, you’d be right. He didn’t. He said the fees would increase BY those percentages. If he succeeds in raising a $2 fee to $50, Gov. Murphy will have increased the fee by $48, which – as you demonstrated yourself – is 2400%. Ditto for the rest (excluding “9900%”, of course).

  7. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    Taxes and fees come natural to socialist-democrats, it’s what they live for, that and control.

  8. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

    Check out the video in this tweet by ‘The Chicago Teachers Union’ :

    “We are completely frightened by, completely impressed by and completely in support of wherever this is headed. #Solidarity”

    Remember, – “completely impressed by and completely in support of wherever this is headed.” :^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1299101069163859968|twgr^&ref_url=

    Yeah, I seriously doubt you know the history of where that ended.

    And who met the blade themselves… *snicker* 😉

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        “Mo free stuff! Mo free stuff!” And if we don’t get it, we gonna burn the m’f’er down! (So that nobody has anything. Brilliant. How can you expect to have a job when you plan on burning down your place of employment?)

        1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

          None of these commies out protesting want a job. I keep hearing about how tough it is to make it, but during the worst of the lockdown Dominoes and Kroger’s were hiring at $15 hour here in Kentucky and begging for help.

          I personally am constantly turning down work in farm, construction, transportation and heavy mechanical I just don’t feel like doing. I couldn’t even start listing all the places that have help wanted signs out right now.

      2. avatar TTAGTROLL says:

        Wow! The forum troll reads ZH, the eternally bearish blog. Good for you. Get ready for your mandatory vaccine champ.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    This plan is such a bad idea simply because so few people can get carry permits, store licenses , etc.

  10. avatar Nanashi says:

    ” But this is not an ordinary form of tax, but one single in kind, with a long history of hostile misuse against the freedom of the press.”

  11. avatar Shadow says:

    “…..I was not really thinking of the Bill of Rights”, he says? No surprise there. Let’s face it, few politicians care about such a piece of paper they would prefer to wipe their butts with.

    1. avatar Parnell says:

      The clown in Trenton also once said “the Bill of Rights is above my pay grade”. I guess the oath he took when sworn in is too.

  12. avatar MDH says:

    The US military has trained thousands of expert snipers, who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution agains all enemies foreign and domestic.

    These sawed off Marxist despots would do well to remember that, but probably won’t until inevitably, they walk out of their doors one morning to greet the sun for the very last time.

  13. avatar The Rookie says:

    Hey, wasn’t he the bad guy in the second Rambo movie?

    1. avatar Bad Humor says:

      No. Now please pipe down.

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