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New Jersey Firearms Task Force Legislation Sticks it to Honest Gun Owners – Again!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Please Immediately Call Members of the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee

On Thursday, December 3 at 2:00 pm in State House Annex Room 12, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on three bills of importance to New Jersey’s law-abiding gun owners.  It is important that members of the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee hear from you on Thursday.  

A4308 and A4304  have been introduced in an effort to address serious problems in New Jersey’s gun rationing law that was passed in the middle of the night on June 26.  NRA and fellow Second Amendment advocates warned legislators that the one-gun-a-month bill as written contained many flaws and errors which would have to be fixed down the road.  A4301 is an attempt by New Jersey to comply with the grant eligibility requirements set forth in the NICS Improvement Act, passed by Congress in 2007.

As of this writing, lawmakers are still working on last minute language for A4308, which has emerged from the recommendations put forth by Governor Corzine’s Firearm Task Force. The Task Force was supposed to create a robust exemption for law-abiding gun owners from the one-gun-a-month law. Instead, the legislation adds insult to injury by creating an ill-conceived exemption that would force gun owners to beg for permission and show “legitimate need” every time they wish to exercise their Constitutional right to obtain more than one handgun per month. Under the legislation that is currently proposed (and subject to possible last minute change), the average gun owner would need to show why it would not be “feasible or practical” to purchase the guns separately – a standard that the State Police and the courts are likely to interpret against gun owners.  New Jersey’s judiciary has repeatedly abused “needs” standards relating to firearms and, in its own words, is blatantly biased against gun owners: “When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his own peril,” wrote the Supreme Court when it upheld the conviction of the owner of .22 rifle as an assault firearm (State v. Pelleteri).

The notion that honest persons thoroughly investigated by the state should have to beg further permission and show why it is not “feasible or practical” to ration their Constitutional rights is offensive and insulting, and represents another promise broken by the politicians involved in the Task Force. 
Please immediately call the members of the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee and tell them to keep their promise to gun owners and create a robust exemption for honest gun owners who have nothing to do with illegal trafficking. 

A4304 will clarify the original “one gun a month” bill by exempting the “transfer of handguns among licensed retail dealers, registered wholesale dealers and registered manufacturers; or transfers of handguns from any person to a licensed retail dealer or a registered wholesale dealer or registered manufacturer.  As it stands now, the current law exempts sales between licensed gun dealers but not purchases by licensed dealers from firearm distributors or manufacturers which under New Jersey law are classified differently.  Please contact members of the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee and urge them to support A4304. 

A4301 is a good faith attempt by New Jersey to comply with the grant eligibility requirements set forth in the NICS Improvement Act, passed by Congress in 2007. The NICS Improvement Act helped strengthen the reporting of persons who are prohibited from firearm purchases because they have been adjudicated by a court as mentally defective or as a danger to themselves or others. The NRA does have some concerns over the new language that removes the county adjuster from the expungement process in favor of the county counsel. It is the adjuster who receives New Jersey’s mental health check form on the state license for NJ FID cards and NJ Handgun permits.  Please contact the committee members and respectfully urge them to keep the county adjuster as a party to the expungement process.

Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee

Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-37)
(201)-541-1118 (Englewood)
(201)-928-0100 (Teaneck)
asmjohnson@njleg.org

Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D-1)
(609)-465-0700 (Cape May Court House)
(856)-765-0891 (Millville)
(856)-696-7109 (Vineland)
asmalbano@njleg.org

Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick (R-21)
(908)-232-2073 (Westfield)
(908)-232-3673 (Westfield)
(908)-918-0414 (Summit)
asmbramnick@njleg.org

Assemblyman David P. Rible (R-11)
(732)-974-0400
asmrible@njleg.org

Assemblywoman Elease Evans:              
(973) 247-1521
aswevans@njleg.org

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer:         
(973) 624-1730
AswSpencer@njleg.org

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