TRENTON – Assembly Republicans went toe-to-toe with their Democratic counterparts Thursday as they spoke out against a handful of measures that made up more than 20 controversial gun bills.
The General Assembly voted to approve the controversial package during a full voting session. Republicans joined Democrats on some proposals, while fighting with their colleagues from across the aisle on a handful of the bills.
“I really don’t believe that we had enough time to properly discuss [and] debate,” said Assemblyman Sean Kean, (R-30), who sits on the Assembly committee that recently hosted a seven-hour debate on many of the bills.
“I don’t believe that we really had [an] appropriate time period,” he said, adding the proposals won’t have their intended effects, arguing rather that they are knee-jerk reactions.
Kean’s comments were echoed by other GOP lawmakers who held a news briefing prior to the Assembly’s vote. Republican leadership blasted Democrats for “looking for a wedge issue” during a political year, said Assembly Republican Leader John Bramnick, (R-21).
“The Democrats in New Jersey have decided to rush through legislation that were drafted poorly and doesn’t begin to solve the problem,” he said, later declaring on the floor that Democrats have made Thursday an “anti-gun day.”
However, Democrats argued lawmakers are doing their best at “protecting the beautiful document that is our Constitution,” while crafting legislation that will protect New Jersey residents from gun violence, said Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, (D-6).
“I understand the emotion surrounding all of [this],” he said. “What we are trying to legislate … is the balance.”
The Assembly cleared more than 20 gun-related bills from the floor with varying support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Democrat Nelson Albano, who voted against many of these bills in committee, was absent from today’s session because of health reasons, according to a source.
The following bills cleared the Assembly in about an hour-and-thirty minutes.
A588, prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.
A1116, establishes 180-day prohibition on handgun purchases for certain people who fail to report the loss or theft of a firearm.
A1329, reduces the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines in a clip to 10 rounds.
A1387, permits municipalities to establish weapons-free zones around schools and public facilities.
A1683, criminalizes the purchase or possession of firearms ammunition by people convicted of certain crimes.
A3510, requires proof of firearms safety training as a condition for issuance of firearms purchaser ID cards and permits to purchase handguns.
A3583, creates task force to explore areas to improve school safety.
A3645, requires ammunition sales and transfers to be conducted as face-to-face transactions.
A3659, revises definition of destructive device to include certain weapons of .50 caliber or greater.
A3668, prohibits investment by state of any pension and annuity funds in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault firearms for civilian use.
A3687, disqualifies a person named on the federal Terrorist Watchlist from obtaining firearms identification cards or permits to purchase handguns.
A3717, requires submission of certain mental health records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
A3748, requires background check for private gun sales.
A3754, requires firearms seizure when mental health professional determines patient poses threat of harm to self or others.
A3772, requires that firearms purchaser identification cards display picture and mandates that identification cards be renewed every five years.
A3788, codifies regulation exempting firearms records from state’s open public records law and abolishes common law right of access to these records.
A3796, provides a 90-day window for people to dispose of certain unlawfully possessed firearms.
A3797, requires law enforcement to report certain firearms information to inter-jurisdictional electronic databases including the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network.
ACR180, urges President Barack Obama and U.S. Congress to enact legislation enforcing stricter firearms control measures.
AR143, expresses support for Attorney General’s gun buyback program.
A2692, dubbed “Christopher’s Law,” provides courts with the option of ordering juveniles adjudicated delinquent to receive interactive instruction in preventing gang involvement and gang violence.
AR144, urges Gov. Chris Christie’s administration not to apply for annual exemption from requirements of federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
The Assembly also voted to approve several other proposals during Thursday’s voting session:
A3061, exempts certain maintenance engineers from heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration license requirements.
A3760, requires that certain HIV testing be performed within 48 hours of request by victim.
The Assembly also voted to enact the Jessica Lunsford Act.
The proposal, which increases penalties of certain sex offenders and persons who harbor them, unanimously cleared the lower chamber with 77 votes.