New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy has proposed new legislation to increase the price for gun permits throughout the state, as reported by The New York Times.. While New Jersey has previously taken initiatives to increase firearm regulation, the firearm fees have remained the same since the mid-1960s. Currently a firearm identification card costs only $5, a permit to own the firearm costs $2 and a carry permit is $20. In New Jersey it costs more to purchase a permit for your dog than it does for a gun. Murphy proposed new legislation that would increase permit prices as a tactic to reduce incentive to purchase firearms, while also directing the new revenue towards anti-violence initiatives. The new prices will rise to $100 for a firearm identification card, $50 for an owner’s permit and $400 for a carry permit.

While Murphy hopes to decrease the amount of firearm purchases through the increase in permit price, this is not a complete solution to ending firearm violence. This proposed legislation only limits individual’s ability to obtain firearms from designated stores. The greatest problem driving gun violence is how individuals are able to illegally buy firearms through street purchases and taking them from family members. The motive behind this legislation is progressive, but not effective. We need to find greater ways to decrease the amount of firearms being sold to civilians.

Murphy’s progressive legislation has been met with heavy criticism. Many opponents of such legislation suggest that they have a constitutional right to bear arms, so therefore creating regulations against firearms is simply implausible. Some rivals of such legislation have gone to such extremes as calling this regulation “bullying” of the law-abiding gun owners. These individuals are against the possibility of all gun-owners being “punished” due to the actions of the minority who use their firearms irresponsibility and for violent purposes. They believe that not all individuals who own guns are as irresponsible and mentally insane as the individuals who are responsible for school shootings. I can only hope that these people had the same mindset after 9/11 instead of claiming that all Muslims are terrorists because a minority committed a devastating attack. However, it only appears beneficial to act in this manner when their own “American rights” are being examined.

There is a constitutional right to bear arms, yet there is also an irrefutable right to life that is being taken away from innocent students and civilians due to the ease with which Americans can receive military-grade firearms. This is not about punishment for the law-abiding citizens, this is about saving lives. A firearm’s permit price should not be valued over lives. The constitutional rights that are so sacred to carrying citizens are the rights that were written in the 18th century. The Second Amendment was not written with Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Thousand Oaks or Charleston Church in mind. This right was created for 18th century Americans seeking independence. We are not the same country and we do not have the same weapons, so it is imperative that we have different legislation. In 2019 we need to value innocent lives over 18th century legislation.

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