It’s a good day in Trenton when nothing happens, and that’s exactly what occurred today. The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee failed to advance a pair of gun control bills on Monday’s agenda. A few of the committee members were absent, and those who were there couldn’t agree on the legislation.
S.120 by Sen. James Holzapfel increases penalties on those who fail to secure firearms from minors resulting in death. New Jersey already prosecutes negligent storage, however, S.120 increases the penalty in these cases. This year’s bill at least takes into consideration an objection raised by NRA and ANJRPC in previous hearings, and provides an exception for minors who gain access for self-defense purposes. However, despite this modest improvement, we have learned that anti-gun groups and lawmakers have huddled, deciding the bill doesn’t go far enough. We obviously do not have access to forthcoming amendments, so our analysis has been confined to the original bill.
Another bill, S.746 by Sen. Vin Gopal, would prohibit those convicted of “animal cruelty” from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Clearly, animal abuse is a serious issue and offenders should be prosecuted, and New Jersey already prohibits serious animal abusers from owning firearms. However, there seemed to be a good deal of confusion about the particulars of the bill, specifically what constitutes “animal cruelty.” A consensus emerged among committee members and even a couple witnesses that the bill was overly broad, and they are going to re-examine the definition of “animal cruelty.”
Thank you to the NRA members who contacted members of the committee. Please continue to follow NRA-ILA alerts for updates on these bills and others.
For those wishing to continue to express concerns, please contact the committee members below:
Members of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee:
Linda Greenstein (Chair) (D14)
Joe Cryan (Vice Chair) (D20)
Anthony M. Bucco (R25)
Nia H. Gill (D34)
Declan O'Scanlon (D13)