Assembly panel – largely along party lines – releases package of gun bills

TRENTON – Democratic lawmakers voted to release 20 gun bills from committee Wednesday evening following seven hours of heated debate.

The bills – which began as two dozen proposals before being condensed into 20 bills – cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee largely along party lines.

Legislators voted on the bulk of the bills Wednesday evening following little discussion.

Assemblyman Nelson Albano, (D-1), was the sole Democrat who voted against the majority of the bills.

The legislation will now head to the Assembly floor as soon as Feb. 21.

The committee voted to release several related gun bills earlier during the committee hearing.

The committee released the following bills during the second round of voting:

A3754: This requires the seizure of someone’s firearms when a mental health professional determines the patient poses threat of harm to themselves or others.

A3797: This requires law enforcement to report certain firearms information to interjurisdictional electronic databases including the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network.

A1329 would reduce the maximum capacity of ammunition in firearm magazines.

The bill would revise the definition of “large capacity ammunition magazine” and limit the capacity to 10 rounds. Currently, magazines capable of holding a maximum of 15 rounds of ammunition are legal in New Jersey.

A3645 requires ammunition sales and transfers to be conducted as face-to-face transactions.

The face-to-face requirement would make mail order, Internet, telephone and any other anonymous method of ammunition sale or transfer illegal in New Jersey, according to the bill.

Violations would be a fourth degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months behind bars and up to a $10,000 fine.

A3646 would establish a regulatory system to govern the sale and transfer of ammunition.

According to the bill, only licensed state or federal dealers could lawfully sell or transfer ammunition in the state. Similarly, only individuals who are authorized under state law to purchase or poses ammunition may do so.

A3666 would prohibit anonymous ammunition sales or transfers in the state.

Under the bill, selling or transferring ammunition by way of the Internet, mail, telephone and any other anonymous method would be prohibited.

A3750: This bill would further regulate the sale of ammunition and requires information relating to all such sales to be recorded and readily available to law enforcement.

Under current law, the sale of handgun ammunition is regulated to the extent that a purchaser must establish eligibility by exhibiting a firearms purchaser identification card, a permit to purchase a handgun, or a permit to carry a handgun and that he or she is 21 years of age or older.

This bill would establish a similar regulatory program governing the sale of rifle and shotgun ammunition.  In addition to the documentation a purchaser may use to establish his or her eligibility to acquire handgun ammunition, this bill would permit prospective rifle and shotgun ammunition purchasers to exhibit a valid New Jersey hunting license.

A588 would prohibit possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.

Under current federal and State law, hollow nose bullets and other Teflon-coated bullets that have hardened metal jackets or cores are prohibited. However, the federal statute does not address certain “new generation” handgun ammunition, according to the bill.

When fired from [a tactical] handgun, the [new generation] bullet can penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar (the protective material used to make many types of body armor,)” reads the bill.

The bill would make it a crime for regular citizens to posses the ammunition punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to 18 months.

A3796: This provides a 90-day window for someone to dispose of illegal firearms.

A3510 requires proof of firearms safety training as a condition for the issuance of a firearms ID cards and permits to purchase handguns.

Under the proposal, residents would be required to provide evidence of having successfully completed a firearms safety class or other course approved by the New Jersey State Police before being issued a firearms purchase permit.

A3772: This requires that firearms purchaser identification cards display a picture, and it mandates that such cards be renewed every five years.

A3748:  This bill would require all sales or other transfers of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to be conducted through a retail dealer licensed under state law or a federal firearms licensee.  The licensee would have to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun.

A3668 would prohibit investment by the state of pension and annuity funds in companies manufacturing, importing or selling assault firearms for civilian use.

The bill’s definition of assault firearms is identical to the definition of the term under the existing New Jersey ban on the sale of assault firearms under state statute. It exempts from the ban any investments in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault firearms for the exclusive use by nations’ official military organizations and law enforcement agencies.

A1387 permits municipalities to establish weapon free zones around schools and other public facilities.

Weapons free zones would encompass an area within 1,000 feet of the public building or school bus. Violations would be subject of a fine up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Additionally, anyone found guilty of violating the ordinance could be charged and convicted of a weapons violation under state law.

AR144: Urges the Christie Administration not to apply for annual exemption from requirements of federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

AR143: This expresses support for the Attorney General’s gun buyback program.  Such programs have proven successful in reducing the number of weapons on the street being used to commit crimes. Recent ones in the state were held in Trenton and Camden.

A3659 would revise the definition of “destructive device” to include certain weapons of 50 caliber or greater.

According to the bill, the current statutory definition of “destructive device” includes weapons which fire projectiles of greater than 60 caliber. The proposal would make in unlawful to possess a firearm having a caliber of 50 or greater.

The bill provides exemptions antique firearms, muzzle-loaded rifles and certain black powder muzzleloaders.

ACR180 would urge the president and Congress to enact legislation enforcing stricter firearms control measures.

A1116, would establish a six-month prohibition on handgun purchases for people who fail to report loss or theft of a firearm.

According to the bill, a person must be convicted for failing to report a stolen firearm. Following conviction, the individual would be prohibited from purchasing a handgun for 180 days.

Assembly panel – largely along party lines – releases package of gun bills