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New Jersey Will Refuse to Do Business with Banks, Retailers that Resist Stricter Gun-Control Measures

A man inspects a handgun at the NRA annual meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., April 28, 2019. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday that will leverage the state’s purchasing power to coerce gun retailers, manufacturers, and financial institutions to comply with a more stringent gun-control regime.

Under the executive order, the state, which purchases an estimated $70 million in firearms and related equipment annually, will refuse to do business with gun manufacturers and retailers that lack policies that deny guns to people with a history of mental illness or domestic abuse, the New York Times first reported. Retailers that wish to keep the state’s business will be required to “prevent, detect and screen for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers or firearm traffickers.”

Murphy’s order will also deny the roughly $1 billion in financial-transaction fees the state pays annually to banks that have relationships with gun manufacturers and retailers that adhere to permissive policies.

New Jersey already has strict gun-control laws in place that require retailers to perform background checks, but the new policy will apply to out-of-state companies that are not bound by New Jersey laws.

“Taxpayers are the top purchasers of firearms,” reads the order Murphy is expected to sign. “The State should not be purchasing firearms, ammunition or equipment from vendors that place civilians and law enforcement in harm’s way by virtue of not adopting responsible practices related to firearms.”

A number of major financial institutions have already announced that they will cease loaning money to gun manufacturers and retailers that don’t comply with prescribed age-limit and background-check requirements.

The executive order, which represents the most aggressive extra-legislative gun-control effort ever undertaken by a state, is expected to meet with strong resistance from gun-rights groups.

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