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New Jersey: Fireworks in Trenton

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Jersey Assembly Committee Ignores Packed Room of Gun Owners

Yesterday, the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee passed twenty anti-gun bills over the vehement protest of gun owners.  Their hearing was moved to a larger committee room when it became obvious gun owner turnout was going to exceed expectations, but the room still wasn’t big enough.  Audio was piped into another overflow room and still more gun owners gathered outside the Capitol.  The state police issued an emergency demonstration permit due to the estimated crowd of more than 500 gun owners in attendance.

This hearing began with the NRA-ILA state lobbyist and two NRA Board members testifying against the package of anti-gun bills, listed below, that included a ten-round magazine limit, penalties for failure to report loss or theft of a firearm, expands the list of disqualified persons, criminalizes private transfers of firearms, authorizes seizures of firearms, a ban on .50 calibers and a massive new ammunition regulation and reporting scheme – among others.  Their testimony was followed by nearly seven continuous hours of testimony from New Jersey gun owners.  The overwhelming majority of that testimony was opposed to the anti-gun legislative proposals.  Some committee members even admitted that these bills wouldn’t be effective at addressing gun violence.  At times, gun owners scolded lawmakers about shirking their oath to uphold the Constitution and reminded committee members that they were there to serve the people and not vice versa.  The audience was stacked with pro-gun supporters wearing NRA logo gear and military veterans.

There is only one pro-gun bill that was passed alongside all of the anti-gun bills yesterday:  Assembly Bill 3778 by Assemblyman Dave Rible which would keep firearms records confidential.

Thank you for your calls, e-mails and attendance at this committee meeting.  However, the fight has just begun.  These bills are NOT law yet and we must continue to work against them.  These bills now go to the full Assembly for action.  We expect the New Jersey Assembly to vote on these bills next Thursday, February 21st.  It is still early in the process and we must keep the pressure on state lawmakers.  Please call both of your Assembly members and respectfully ask them to oppose these bills.  Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.

Below are brief descriptions of anti-gun bills heard by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday:

Assembly Bill 588 (Spencer / Coutinho / Deignan) – Prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.

Assembly Bill 1116 (Fuentes / Spencer) – Establishes 180-day prohibition on purchase of handgun for certain individuals who fail to report loss or theft of firearm.

Assembly Bill 1329 (Greenwald / Quijano / Coutinho) – Reduces maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to ten rounds.

Assembly Bill 1387 (Wilson / Johnson) – Permits municipalities to establish “weapons free zones” around schools and public facilities.

Assembly Bill 1613 (Bramnick / Johnson) – Establishes Educational Security Task Force.

Assembly Bill 3510 (Johnson / Vainieri Huttle) – Requires proof of firearms safety training as a condition for issuance of firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase handguns.

Assembly Bill 3583 (Wilson) – Creates task force to explore areas to improve school safety. (pending introduction and committee referral)

Assembly Bill 3645 (Greenwald / Eustace / Mosquera) - Requires ammunition sales and transfers be conducted as face-to-face transactions.

Assembly Bill 3646 (Greenwald) - Establishes a regulatory system to govern the sale and transfer of ammunition.

Assembly Bill 3659 (Barnes, III / Johnson) - Revises definition of destructive device to include certain firearms of 50 caliber or greater.

Assembly Bill 3666 (Cryan / O’Donnell / Jasey) - Prohibits mail order, internet, telephone and any other anonymous method of ammunition sale or transfer in New Jersey.

Assembly Bill 3668 (Jasey / McKeon / Cryan) - Prohibits investment by state pension and annuity funds in companies manufacturing, importing and selling “assault firearms” for civilian use. (pending committee referral)

Assembly Bill 3687 (Stender / Fuentes) - Disqualifies persons named on federal Terrorist Watchlist from obtaining a state firearms identification card or permit to purchase handgun.

Assembly Bill 3717 (Lampitt / Singleton) - Requires submission of certain mental health records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Assembly Bill 3748 (O’Donnell / Mainor / McKeon) - Requires background check for private gun sales.

Assembly Bill 3750 (Cryan / O’Donnell / Quijano) - Establishes regulatory and reporting program for all ammunition sales.

Assembly Bill 3754 (Cryan / O’Donnell / Quijano) - Requires firearms seizure when mental health professional determines patient poses threat of harm to self or others.

Assembly Bill 3772 (Eustace / Wagner / Vanieri Huttle) - Requires that firearms purchaser identification cards display picture and mandates that firearms purchaser identification cards be renewed every five years.

Assembly Bill 3788 (Rible / Dancer) - Codifies regulation exempting firearms records from the state open public records law and abolishes common law right of access to these records.

Assembly Bill 3796 (Mainor) – Provides ninety-day window for persons to dispose of certain unlawfully possessed firearms.

Assembly Bill 3797 (Mainor) – Requires law enforcement to report certain firearms information to inter-jurisdictional electronic databases including the national Integrated Ballistics Identification Network.

Assembly Committee Resolution 180 (Greenwald) – Urges President and Congress of United States to enact legislation enforcing stricter firearms control measures. (pending introduction and committee referral)

Assembly Bill R143 (Quijano / Cryan / O’Donnell) - Expresses support for Attorney General's gun “buyback” program.

Assembly Bill R144 (Oliver) – Urges Governor Christie’s Administration not to apply for annual exemption from requirements of federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. (pending committee referral)

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