On Thursday, June 11, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 2786 on a unanimous vote. Last week, the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee adopted the Assembly companion bill, Assembly Bill 4218. Both bills now advance to their respective chamber for floor votes.
Federal law already includes domestic violence misdemeanor convictions and restraining orders in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Judges can already require the surrender of firearms, FID cards and purchase permits in domestic violence cases where restraining orders are issued. These bills lack adequate due process, especially when one’s constitutional right can be taken away.
These bills are likely to have the same unintended consequences for law-abiding gun owners that we've witnessed time and time again in the Garden State. The bills also have constitutional problems with respect to spousal privilege and confiscation of private property without adequate due process. These bills allow law enforcement to charge unspecified fees for storage of firearms, which is open to abuse. S.2786/A.4218 also establishes a 24-hour surrender order which can be unrealistic on weekends when FFLs are sometimes closed. This provision also removes judicial discretion which exists in current law. If lawmakers are serious about getting tough on domestic violence, they should simply focus on bills like Assembly Bill 4486, which enhances penalties for convicted violent offenders.
Please call your Assembly member and state Senator and let them know you are opposed to both S.2786 and A.4218.