Permits to buy handguns in New Jersey, with some of the nation’s strictest firearms laws, rose 67 percent through June compared with the same period in 2012, say state police data reported by the Wall Street Journal. New Jersey issued 59,120 handgun permits in 2013’s first six months. Experts, gun-rights groups, and new gun owners attributed the increase to fears that state and federal firearms policies would tighten.
Also, the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Ct., sparked a national debate about U.S. gun laws. Business in 2013 has been “absolutely ridiculous,” said Gerry Morey, a firearms dealer in Bayville, N.J. “The biggest part of my clientele increase has been for personal protection handguns and personal protection shotguns.” The sharp rise in permits shows that “even in the state that has some of the strictest gun laws in America, it’s really easy to get a gun,” said Todd Clear, dean of Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice. New Jersey was given an A- from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence for its firearms policies.