Last week, the New Jersey Senate passed legislation in the waning days of the 2017 “lame duck” session to ban bump stocks. On Monday, the General Assembly will attempt to push this deeply flawed legislation through before the new Legislature convenes next Tuesday.
S.3477 and A.5200 are the epitome of New Jersey’s failed gun control laws. We’ve seen many instances where New Jersey gun laws are loaded with traps and pitfalls that do nothing but ensnare honest, law-abiding gun owners. New Jersey already has a semi-auto “assault weapons” ban which bans a pistol grip and a telescoping stock, thus constituting a "part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert the firearm into an assault firearm..." N.J.S. 2C:39-1w(5)).
S.3477 goes so far as to punish someone with a third degree crime for “disposal” of a bump stock or trigger crank. Similarly, someone simply transporting the accessory is subject to harsh penalties, meaning a person cannot even drive the object to a local police station or out-of-state without facing ridiculously severe repercussions. A person would also be guilty even without being in possession of a firearm to attach the stock. Again, this bill is clearly not about reducing crime or addressing public safety. The narrow 30-day amnesty period is nothing short of punitive.
Anti-gun legislators want to give the appearance that they are doing something about violent crime when quite the opposite is true. New Jersey has some of the country’s most violent neighborhoods and, at the same time, some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws. Rather than focus on real problems like drug and gang violence or mental health, anti-gun politicians focus on harassing law-abiding gun owners and passing legislation that does nothing to punish criminals. This is a clear sign of things to come in Trenton. We would urge members to remind their legislators to focus on punishing actual criminals and stop harassing law-abiding gun owners.