Advocates renew call for 50-caliber firearms ban

TRENTON – Gun-control advocates renewed their call Friday for the governor to sign a bill that would ban 50-caliber weapons.

A3659/S2178 would prohibit civilian ownership of the so-called military battlefield-style weapons. The bill is one of several remaining firearms bills that Gov. Chris Christie has not acted upon yet.

This was the third such plea made at the Statehouse in the last few weeks by advocates who are concerned that Christie will veto the 50-caliber bill in order to appease the more conservative elements of his party as he eyes a possible presidential run.

Bryan Miller of Heeding God’s Call pointed out that the 50-caliber bolt-action weapons fire shells that can reach over one mile.

That is important for a state such as New Jersey that is home to numerous facilities that store hazardous materials and which also serves as a pass-through state for trains and trucks transporting toxic substances, the advocates said.

“Any reasonable New Jerseyan would agree that such weapons are totally inappropriate,’’ he said.

And it is not just a matter of keeping such weapons out of the hands of terrorists, he said.

Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club said accidents can happen.

“Someone having fun in the woods can accidentally hit a tanker truck a mile away,’’ he said. 

New Jersey, he said, is home to many businesses that fall under the Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act because of the level of hazardous substances on-site that could affect tens of thousands of residents.

Miller pointed to a 50-caliber weapon – rendered useless – and a 4-inch shell on display at their press conference.

“It’s an amazing military weapon,’’ he said.  “And that’s where it belongs, in the military.  We need to remove the possibility of civilian use.”

Last week, the governor signed 10 firearms bills, but left untouched some of the more controversial ones. 

Also remaining on his table is Sen. President Steve Sweeney’s omnibus bill that has many elements, including a revision of permits under which information would be embedded in driver’s licenses.


Advocates renew call for 50-caliber firearms ban