Sweeney’s gun reform bills clear Senate floor

TRENTON – Senators took action Thursday on a range of gun reform bills spearheaded by the state’s top Senate lawmaker.

Senate President Steve Sweeney’s proposal cleared the upper chambers following a 23-17 vote and no discussion among legislators.

The bill, S2723, revises statutes concerning firearms purchaser identification cards and handgun purchase permits; makes handgun purchase permit valid for four years.

Under the bill, firearms purchaser ID information would be embedded in a driver’s license toward the goal of providing for instant background checks and immediate revocation of firearms possession rights if a violation is discovered.

The bill, in part, is designed to eliminate the time-consuming process by which an applicant has to wait sometimes more than a year, rather than 30 days, to obtain a permit.

The proposal was one of several that Senate lawmakers took action on Thursday following no discussion.

The Senate voted to clear the following bills:

S1133: This bill would add certain weapons offenses to the list of crimes with bail restrictions under current law. The bill adds the crimes of unlawful possession of a weapon, and has a conviction already for crimes of the first- through third-degree.
The bill excludes some weapons: unloaded rifle or shotgun or a BB gun, air gun, or spring gun.

Passed 40-0

S1279: Upgrades penalty for unlawfully transferring a firearm to an underage person.
The penalties would rise from a $15,000 fine and/or three to five years in jail to a $150,000 fine and/or a mandatory minimum of five years in jail.

Passed 39-0

S2178/A3659: Revises definition of destructive device to include weapons of 50 caliber or greater.

Passed 23-16

S2467/A3668: Prohibits state-administered pension fund investment in manufacturers of firearms that are prohibited in New Jersey for civilian use.

Passed 23-17

S2485/A3687: Disqualifies person named on federal Terrorist Watchlist from obtaining firearms identification card or permit to purchase handgun.

Passed 35-0

S2552/A3788: Codifies regulation exempting firearms records from state’s open public records law.

Passed 40-0

S2804: Upgrades certain unlawful possession of firearms to first- degree crime; revises certain penalties under the “Graves Act,” which eliminated parole eligibility under certain circumstances.

Passed 38-0

S2492/A3717: Requires submission of mental health records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Passed 36-0

S2801: This bill expands the five-year statute of limitations for prosecuting firearms theft to 10 years. The original bill would have eliminated the statute of limitations altogether.

Passed 40-0

Sweeney’s gun reform bills clear Senate floor