Gun control advocates today said they consider a ban on high capacity ammunition clips to be the “cornerstone” of any gun control package and the Senate’s failure to include the legislation could jeopardize their support.
“Any package of bills intended to make this state safe must include a limitation on ammunition capacity to 10 rounds or fewer,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God’s Call. “Other states have limitations on magazine capacity and there is no way advocates will allow this state to fall behind others on gun control. We view it as a critical piece of the package and without that critical piece it will be very difficult for us to support it.”
The Senate was expected to introduce a package of gun control bills today that would largely mirror the 22 bills passed by the Assembly earlier this year. However, the clip restriction is reportedly not part of the package. One Senate source told PolitickerNJ lawmakers had received little pushback from gun control advocates on the absence of the restriction.
Nicola Bocour, project director of Ceasefire NJ, said without the limitation on magazines, the package could not be considered comprehensive.
“We have been advocating for it from the beginning and we really hoped the state representatives would choose to include it,” Bocour said. “I think it’s outrageous that it’s not included. In the wake of Newtown, which is what propelled much of the call to action, that something like a ban on high capacity magazines wouldn’t be a part of this package when it was the cornerstone of the Assembly package is quite frankly shocking and disappointing.”
It’s unclear why the restriction was left out of the Senate package. A spokesman for the Senate Democrats did not immediately return a call for comment.
Earlier today, Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, the sponsor of the Assembly bill that passed earlier this year, said any package that comes through the lower chamber must include the restriction.
“Let me be crystal clear: as Majority Leader, I would not advocate moving any gun violence prevention package unless a ban on high-capacity magazines is included,” Greenwald said.
In a statement issued late in the day, Speaker Sheila Oliver echoed Greenwald’s comments.
“I’ve made clear as well that limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines – and requiring firearms seizure when mental health professionals determine a patient poses a threat of harm to self or others – must be essential parts of any gun violence prevention plan. Thus, I agree fully with the Majority Leader and welcome his statement,” Oliver said.