Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey governor issued an executive order in September that effectively banned the sale of insurance products that provide liability coverage to gun owners making it virtually impossible for concealed carry holders in New Jersey to get coverage.
Governor Phil Murphy’s order specifically said the state should, within 30 days, take all appropriate action “to prohibit and/or limit the sale, procurement, marketing, or distribution of insurance products that may serve to encourage the improper use of firearms,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.
As a result of the edict, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) announced in early October that it would have to “pull their services off the shelf for New Jersey gun owners," ConcealedCarry.com reported.
USCCA is not an insurance company, but the organization does offer concealed-carry liability insurance to its members in the event they are compelled to use their weapons in self-defense.
The problem is that states like New Jersey want to regulate organizations like USCCA because they list their membership as “beneficiaries” of their coverage, the press release explained.
And for that reason, they’re regulated by the state much like an insurance company.
That means that USCCA had no choice but to pull out of New Jersey or risk doing battle with the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
The governor’s press release proudly touted a consent order for a $1 million fine against one such company that had encouraged “the improper use of firearms,” according to New Jersey’s standard.
“Last week, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance announced that Lockton Affinity, LLC agreed to pay a $1 million fine as part of a consent order with the department for administering a National Rifle Association-sponsored insurance program in violation of state insurance laws,” the release said. “An investigation by the department found that Kansas-based Lockton Affinity violated various state laws and regulations in administering the Carry Guard insurance program in New Jersey on behalf of the NRA. Offering an insurance product marketed by the NRA that encourages firearm use is a serious violation of public policy and today’s executive order takes steps to limit such policies’ availability in the State.”
Carry Guard insurance was created and marketed to be self-defense coverage for lawful gun carriers but anti-gun activists labeled it “murder insurance” and that’s exactly how the state treated it, according to NJ Spotlight.
Murphy’s executive order also directed state officials to ask all gun makers or retailers to reveal whether they have adopted best practices to reduce gun violence, and to find out how they screen for straw purchasers, firearms traffickers, and people who have been banned from owning or purchasing firearms, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“This is not intended at day one to be an adversarial act,” the governor said. “This is to express a broad statement of principles and values that matter to us deeply.”
The governor’s office said the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance would scrutinize all liability insurance offered in the state that encouraged the improper use of firearms.
However, the executive order did not define what the state considered “improper use of firearms” other than its obvious objection to concealed carry.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) said that Murphy’s executive order exceeded the governor’s authority by trying to regulate interstate commerce, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The governor views licensed and law-abiding small businesses that are just trying to earn a living, and are engaged in the commerce of a constitutionally protected product [as] somehow the problem,” NSSF General Counsel Lawrence Keene said.
New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio stood behind the governor’s executive order and called it “using the power of our purse strings to set an example for others,” the press release said.
“The executive order being signed today will ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used wisely to procure goods and services from companies that act responsibly when it comes to firearms and ammunition and to create an opportunity for local and county governments who want to follow our lead,” Muoio said.