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New Jersey Legislative Update

Friday, October 4, 2002

On Monday, October 7, the New Jersey Senate will likely vote on S 573 (formerly S 890). This bill, sponsored by Senator Dick Codey (D-27), is a complete handgun ban masquerading as a "childproof" handgun bill. As currently written, S 573 would set in motion an ultimate ban of all new models of handguns in New Jersey if so-called "smart guns" are introduced to the market. And even if there was just one model of these "smart guns" and it was pulled off the market for any reason, the ban would still remain. Simply put, S 573 seeks to ban ALL models of handguns currently available in New Jersey.

As you may recall, the Senate has debated this issue before and is aware that so-called "smart" or "personalized" handgun technology does not exist. Amazingly, police are exempted from this mandate. If "smart gun" technology is so "smart," why would the leading occupation in which employees carry hand guns regularly—law enforcement—be exempt from using it? And if that were not bad enough, this past Monday, Senate proponents worked to amend this legislation to give the government complete immunity should there be a technological failure of any "smart gun." This came after another round of testimony from firearm experts and members of the pro-gun community that exposed the potential unreliability of "smart gun" technology. In other words, proponents of this bill want to mandate handgun designs that are currently unavailable and unproven for all law-abiding gun owners, but fearing that one of these government-mandated "smart guns" is actually produced, and there is a catastrophic technological failure that causes injury or loss of life, the government wants to ensure that it cannot be held accountable for mandating and approving the firearm.

It should be noted that the companion bill in the Assembly, A 700, is now pending before the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee. This bill is nearly identical to the Senate version and it must be defeated. It is imperative that you contact your State Senator as well as your State Assemblyman immediately and ask him to vote NO on S 573 and A 700! Also be sure to express your indignation that the government wishes to mandate unavailable, unproven, and potentially unreliable handgun designs, but remove itself from any possibility of being held accountable for such designs. If you are unsure of how to reach your Senator or Assemblyman, please call the main State Legislature information line, (609) 292-4840, and ask for assistance, or click here.

 In addition, NRA members in New Jersey`s 3rd legislative district should make plans to attend a town hall meeting scheduled in Mantua at the Mantua Municipal Building on Thursday, October 10, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Your elected officials in this district, State Senator Stephen Sweeney (D), Assemblyman Douglas Fisher (D), and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D), will be in attendance, so it will serve as a prime opportunity for you to ask them to state their position in an open and public forum on the Second Amendment and gun-related issues, such as the "smart gun" legislation  currently pending in your state legislature. Please contact their Thorofare office at (856) 251-9801 to confirm attendance or for more information.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.