days delayed ()
+ checks in queue
NJ NICS data as of 
 days delayed ()
+ checks in queue
NJ NICS data as of 

Did the Governor and Attorney General Compliment NJ FFLs?

Share this story

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

On February 26, New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, and Attorney General, Matthew Platkin, released a joint statement that essentially said New Jersey’s federally-regulated firearms dealers lawfully sell guns.

If that sounds like an unusual statement, it’s because it is. It’s equivalent to stating the sky is blue. It’s the misleading terms and the data cited that makes this worth looking further into.

The memo boasts, “…for two years in a row, none of New Jersey’s firearms dealers were cited by the federal government for selling the most crime guns, a typical indicator of gun violence and gun trafficking.”

Momentarily side-stepping the manufactured term “crime guns” (which we’ll come to later), the mission of this public statement is to attempt to tie New Jersey’s egregiously strict, anti-civil rights gun laws to low crime.

“This is clear evidence that our strong, commonsense gun policies are not only stopping violence within our own State, they are curbing gun violence in other states,” Platkin asserted. (Remember, this is the same Attorney General who dismissed all firearms charges in a murder case.)

Not mentioned in the letter is the fact that in 2022, after the Bruen Supreme Court decision, New Jersey was forced for the first time in its history to start issuing Permits to Carry concealed firearms, en masse. Although the state claims to not know how many permits have been issued, estimates vary from tens of thousands to perhaps as high as 200,000 permits.

This is a significant change for the state and one that surely would have an impact on crime statistics, yet has been routinely ignored when it comes to reporting. To date, we are not aware of any New Jersey permit holder that has been charged with an offense related to firearm possession or use.

Lamentably, even the New Jersey State Police jumped in on the action. “Our strict approach to firearms regulations is working to reduce gun trafficking, thereby saving lives,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), adding, “Our law enforcement community is proud of the partnership we have here in New Jersey to safeguard our communities and our officers from the scourge of deadly gun violence.”

It should be noted that the Bruen-response laws being referenced are being challenged in court as unconstitutional, and so far have been partially struck down by a federal district court, with a pending decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Back to the letter.

The claims that the Governor and Attorney general seek to further are all based on a report from Brady United, a national, politically-connected, anti-gun organization that purports to be against “gun violence.” In reality, Brady has vigorously furthered anti-gun agendas around the nation, including bans, confiscations, red flag laws, and many other unconstitutional measures.

To make their argument, Brady cites statistics provided from the ATF’s Demand Letter 2 (DL2) program. This program, which began in 2000 and was updated in 2018, is essentially a trace program to verify point-of-origin of where a firearm used in a crime was sold.

The new version of the program requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) with 25 or more traces in a calendar year, where the time from retail sale to trace is three years or less, to submit an annual report followed by quarterly reports of used firearms acquired by the FFL. These threshold stipulations are, of course, arbitrary and made up by the ATF.

It’s important to point out that FFL reportings are not indicative of any crimes or wrongdoings committed by the FFL – one of the most-regulated businesses in America. And in fact, except for rare instances, the FFLs themselves have sold these firearms legally. To restate, the FFLs have sold legal guns (or legally sold guns, as it were).

Nonetheless, leave it to the Brady campaign to both smear these FFLs and tease the data to insinuate that:

  • Dealers who must report have somehow done something wrong
  • Dealers who have not had to report are somehow benefitting from “strong firearms laws”

The baseless conclusion that the Brady report (laughably named: “The Suppliers of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic“) came up with is essentially unprovable:

Absent complete transparency into the gun industry’s role in supplying firearms that fuel our nation’s gun violence epidemic, the list of dealers subject to the ATF’s DL2 program is the best indicator we have as to which gun dealers are fueling crime.

Back to “crime guns”. The Brady United group would have you believe that highly regulated FFLs around the country (many of whom are small mom and pop stores and rely on the business to make a living) are actively selling “crime guns” to criminals. And while some, very few, have been convicted of facilitating straw purchases, the vast majority are reputable, standup operations that are toeing the line and keeping the law.

Brady deceptively call the DL2 program, “…a program created to identify firearms dealers that sell the most crime guns and to aid law enforcement investigations.” We don’t know a single FFL that sells crime guns. Brady later admits this term more properly would refer to “a gun used in crime and recovered by law enforcement to the location of its first retail sale”. The term “crime gun” appears eight times in their report. The ATF does have its own belabored definition of a “crime gun” but distinctively points out that these guns were used in a crime, post-sale.

Back to the letter where Murphy and Platkin boast, “…none of New Jersey’s firearms dealers were cited by the federal government for selling the most crime guns.”

The vast majority, almost statistically 100%, of FFLs sell firearms through legal means after thoroughly vetting their customers to the State’s and government’s own standards, including a NICS check. It should come as no surprise that they are doing a good job of keeping these laws.

It’s the STATE that has let us down in not enforcing the laws we have, especially when it comes to crime committed with firearms.

If you like our articles… please subscribe to our 2nd Amendment update list. We generally send one email per week containing 2A news you might’ve missed.

Share this story

Notify of
Inline Feedback
View all comments

Siegel/Koons v. Platkin
Oral arguments heard Oct 25
Awaiting opinion from 3rd Circuit of Appeals

You can carry in your car on your motorcycle on private property* at airports* at church in some restaurants* at filming locations
Tell us what you think!x