New Jersey Bills

Bryan Miller is no doubt proud of his latest legislative accomplishments and is wondering how anyone could oppose him and still be a reasonable person. I suppose I will play the part of unreasonable person here, and take apart these bills. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether I’m reasonable:

S-2431/A-3035 increases the penalty for being caught in public with an illegal firearm to a 2nd degree crime. Until now first offenders enjoyed a presumption against incarceration. This measure removes that presumption. Offenders now face likely incarceration, fitting in a time when the state faces a rising tide of gun violence from the use of illegal handguns.

If I were to take a shotgun into New Jersey to shoot some clays, if I am not in possession of a valid FID card, that is an illegal shotgun. If I stop at a Donkin Donuts drive-through for a cup of coffee, I am now in possession of an “illegal firearm” and will go to prison in New Jersey for many years. Bryan wants you to think of gang members toting around their Gatts. New Jersey law is far far broader than that, and it’s easy for normally law abiding people to run afoul of New Jersey’s monstrously complicated and overly broad laws. My policy was, and still is, not to take any firearms into New Jersey. I make my Jersey friends come to Pennsylvania if they want to shoot. It’s too easy to get in trouble in New Jersey if you’re caught with a gun, even if you have them for sporting purposes.

S-2934/A-4620 imposes stepped fines on gun owners who fail to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. On its face, this measure is the height of sense. Wouldn’t police want to know of guns floating around, potentially in the wrong hands? Plus, this law is a likely barrier to ‘straw purchasing,’ the linchpin of illegal handgun trafficking.

Straw purchasing is already both a federal and state crime. “It was stolen” is not an absolute defense to the charge. What Bryan was looking for with this is to make another law with which to charge them with because the state would be unable meet its burden that all the elements of a straw purchase had taken place. The problem with this law is that, people do get guns stolen. Originally the bill required immediate reporting, not reporting within a time period after discovery. The original penalties were also a lot more server. My problem with these Lost and Stolen reporting requirements is that they’ll disproportionately be used to jail poor gun owners in urban areas who might keep a firearm for self-protection, but aren’t that aware of the laws, and don’t have insurance issues to worry about. I’ll give Bryan one thing, this law, when considered with all of New Jersey’s other laws that are easy to unknowingly violate, doesn’t add much to the crap pile for gun owners in the Garden State.

S-2470/A-2602 requires that, with a very minor exception, purchasers of handgun ammunition show proof that they have passed our state’s rigorous firearm background check before being allowed to buy handgun ammunition. This new law is intended to prevent the sale of handgun ammo to folks who intend to use it for ill. There has been much evidence in recent years of gang members buying handgun ammo at sporting goods stores (many of which do not sell handguns). This legislation will make it more difficult for them to do so.

So gang members are going to just go “Dang, well, I can’t buy ammo anymore. I guess next time I’ll just throw the gun at the rival drug dealer who wants to kill me” Or are they going to smuggle it through illegal channels just like they currently do with guns? It’s already illegal for gang members to possess ammunition.  What makes Bryan think the restrictions on ammunition are going to be any more effective than the restrictions on firearms are?  This law isn’t going to deter criminals from getting the tools of their trade, but it is going to make it harder for New Jersey gun owners to buy ammunition.

This is only a start. We can expect the new Legislature, seated last week, to consider further measures to enhance public safety, including a bill to limit individuals to the purchase of no more than a single handgun in any thirty-day period (up to twelve per year), a bill to ban civilian ownership of massively destructive .50 Caliber weapons and a bill to require all new handguns purchased to include microstamping technology to aid law enforcers in tracing crime guns and solving crime. Watch this space for more news on upcoming legislation.

Whatever bills they pass will never be enough folks. Worthwhile to remember that their previous 50 caliber ban would have also banned a lot of muzzleloaders, just for you hunters out there that think they are never coming for your deer rifle. They will try if they can get away with it.

2 thoughts on “New Jersey Bills”

  1. It is already at the point at which it is easier to leave the state than to buy a firearm. Of course, the state has a plan for that too

  2. Even if you have an FID, you may not be able to stop at a Dunkin Donuts. You can only have a firearm in your car when traveling to and from a firing range.

    I’m not exactly sure how they are supposed to know if you are heading to a firing range, so it’d probably be best not to run any errands on your way there.

    Will that microstamping pile on to the “smart gun” requirement?

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