How High Should the Cost of Entry be For a Civil Right?

Why Having a Gun in New Jersey Could Soon Cost 20 Times as Much

New Jersey is no bastion of gun rights. But, the state fees involved could have been termed as ‘modest’.

$27 would net you the firearm ID card, the permit to own, and the concealed carry license, about the cost of seeing the new Avengers Endgame movie. With my own state’s fee for the concealed pistol license being far higher I can, at the least, appreciate a state who is not taxing people out of ownership.

Governor Philip Murphy is seeking to change that in an “effort” to tackle gun violence and reduce the flow of illegal firearms…

How, precisely, changing the combined total fee on a legal purchase and carry from an inconvenient yet modest $27.00 to $550.00 is going to reduce the number of illegal firearms is beyond me.

By taxing the constitutional right beyond the reach of anyone with tight finances you are effectively encouraging people to seek options that don’t comply with New Jersey law, but that are cost effective within their means. Furthermore the Governor doesn’t appear to have the authority to earmark any money from the licenses for gun violence prevention efforts, the tax increase will be general funds.

The price to carry a conventional Glock handgun in New Jersey would double. Even at a screaming deal most handguns would become a 4 figure expenditure on anyone’s budget, with somewhere between 30-50% of those dollars going the state… not increasing the quality of the firearm, getting better training, or buying quality ammunition for protection (an already expensive prospect in NJ due to their braindead ban on hollow points), no… the state of New Jersey will take the dollars with the promise (an empty promise since the funds cannot be marked for a program) that they will be used to combat gun violence.

There is an obvious goal here, less New Jersey citizens carrying. That won’t be the result in this case, it will be less residents carrying legally. Taxing the right further and further away from the financially strapped, who also are often the more vulnerable demographic living in lower income higher crime regions, will just put more pressure on them to ignore the law as the choice becomes personal safety or cough up an extra few hundred dollars for licensing.

Perhaps the goal is elitism? Only those who can afford access to the right should exercise it, maybe? Jersey only wants the well off well armed?

“Of course it isn’t!”, I can fathom the retort. But what is the net effect?

If I place the cost of entering legally into owning and carrying a firearm so much higher than cost of the hardware and training, far above the administrative fees to process licenses, the only things I effectively encourage are a combination of elitism and legal circumvention.

What possible influence is believed to be exercised on the armed street level enforcer who didn’t care to get the licenses at $27 now that it will be $550? None. A group who does not care to be taxed or follow a rule set won’t start just because you made it more expensive.

There is an influence that will be recognized, that of far less likely legally armed targets in the law abiding New Jersey populous. Perhaps that’s Governor Murphy’s goal? If so, it’s far more likely to achieve that one then the stated.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.