Legal Showdown on Preemption Expected
By a vote of 7 to 1, the Jersey City Council passed its “one-gun-a-month” handgun rationing scheme at its June 28 Council meeting, but unanimously defeated its “junk gun” ban, which is being re-drafted a second time and will be re-introduced at a future date.
After a heated debate between gun rights activists and anti-gun extremists, City Council President Mariano Vega, Jr. admitted that the gun rationing ordinance “is feel-good legislation that will probably not reduce crime, but we have to start somewhere, so I am voting yes.”
The lone vote against the rationing scheme came from Councilman Michael Sottolano ([email protected] (201) 547-5098). Members are encouraged to contact Councilman Sottolano and thank him for his courage and integrity.
Ordinance # 06-082 bans the purchase of more than one handgun per month, and leaves Jersey City residents unable to defend themselves if their firearm requires repair or is stolen within four weeks of purchase. The ordinance will become effective 20 days after passage, upon signing by the Mayor.
The ordinance violates New Jersey’s preemption law, which forbids municipalities from regulating where the state has already spoken. The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (NRA’s New Jersey State affiliate) has vowed to challenge the illegal ordinance in Court, and CeaseFire New Jersey executives threatened at the hearing to organize a defense on behalf of Jersey City using pro-bono services of a major New Jersey law firm.