New Jersey .50 Cal Ban Proceeding

According to ANJRPC:

A3659 – the fifty caliber ban – was added to the full Assembly agenda for Monday, June 24. This is the final version of this legislation, which has been changing from week to week over the past several months. It bans firearms that shoot centerfire cartridges of any caliber that attain a muzzle energy of 12,000 ft-lbs. or greater. Though limited grandfathering has been added in response to gun owner concerns, the firearms must be registered, cannot be passed down to heirs, and owners will be civilly liable for damages if the firearm is used in a crime. Additionally, the bill has been amended specifically to prevent anyone with a pending order for these firearms from taking possession of them.

I was worried, somewhere, legislators were going to figure out the idea of restricting firearms by muzzle energy rather than caliber. This would exempt all the large bore safari cartridges I can think of, in addition to preserving shotguns and muzzleloaders. The .408 Cheytac would still be legal, as would the .338 Lapua Magnum and .416 Barrett. Of course, this could be problematic if your hobby is creating wildcat rounds. As best I can tell, this law will have just about the same effect if they just banned the .50BMG by name. There are plenty of alternatives that have similar properties, but just not quite as much muzzle energy.

It’s amazing to me that politicians are just now getting so concerned about a cartridge that John Browning designed 100 years ago, and, to the best of my knowledge, has never been used to commit a crime anywhere in the United States.

UPDATE: Originally I missed the bit about the proposal requiring a centerfire cartridge. This means any muzzleloading firearm is not covered. I removed that bit.

18 Responses to “New Jersey .50 Cal Ban Proceeding”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    Isn’t that following the lines of logic that banned rounds of a certain hardness as “armor piercing?”

    • Tim says:

      Last I check, you can kill with any available caliber. This pick and choose legislation is frivolous and wrought with bullshit. BTW, doesn’t a 3.5″ 12ga round let off with about 14000 ft-lbs muzzle energy? Can of fuckin worms here.

  2. NUGUN Blog says:

    Here we have it, the solution…the new “ringfire”. Yes a touch of sarcastic humor.


    • NJDave says:

      I vote we just wildcat some .50BMG and move the primer pocket 1mm to the side… introducing the all new .50F-U-NJ off-centerfire!

  3. Bubblehead Les says:

    Interesting. If it’s legal to order a .50BMG TODAY, yet it takes a few days to get there, isn’t this a violation of the Commerce Clause?

    • Sebastian says:

      Not really. States are allowed to make things illegal (Second Amendment concerns aside). They just aren’t allowed to set up discriminatory regimes that favor the business of one state over another.

  4. TS says:

    I think there are a handful of incidents of them being “used in a crime”, but no one has ever been killed, and as far as I know even hurt. But hey, if it saves just zero lives…

    I recall VPC published a list of .50BMG transgressions, and they counted up 30 some. By and large, most of them were the case of a prohibited person having one in their collection.

    • ISTR that in the 1970s someone put a M2HB in a panel van and used it to stick up several banks. No shots were fired, but it’s pretty much the definition of a violent crime. I can’t remember whether it was in upstate NY or lower Ontario, though, or both. (If the latter, Sebastian’s qualified “in the US” still holds).

      Of course, this was not a privately owned, sporting .50. It was a stolen-from-the-military .50 and it would be an interesting exercise to see just how many felonies these guys were committing.

      1. They were felons in possession, violating GCA 68.
      2. Their unreg MG violated NFA 34.
      3. Stealing the weapon in the first place violated numerous state and federal laws, as did continuing to possess it unlawfully.
      4. And then there’s the small business of jacking up banks, something which the law always took exception to, even before bankers evolved into a special class “too big to jail” themselves.

      • Andy says:

        I recall one being used to take out the engine block on a armored bank truck. I’ll have to look up the citation, though, so don’t take it as truth.

  5. Sigivald says:

    It bans firearms that shoot centerfire cartridges of any caliber that attain a muzzle energy of 12,000 ft-lbs. or greater.

    Assuming there isn’t more not in the excerpt, it would seem to exempt even a 2 bore muzzle-loader (and indeed, muzzle-loading artillery pieces), since none of them use centerfire cartridges.

  6. Robb Allen says:

    Officer, the round I used was 11,937j. Good luck in your investigation that says otherwise!

    And this is yet another one of those times where the best move is to ignore the silly law. Criminals do it all the time anyway, and if you’re going to be labeled a felon for owning a round that is 12,0001j then might as well make the felony charge worth it.

  7. BikerDad says:

    Time to get crackin’ on that rail gun. 18k ft-lbs, not a centerfire. :)

  8. Scott says:

    Arbitrary and capricious; besides will it hold up to a Heller challenge?

  9. Merle says:

    I guess all those misguided(?) souls who believe that a single 50 BMG round will bring down an airliner never saw the WW2 gun camera footage showing how many rounds it took to bring down a much smaller aircraft. But then again perhaps I am misguided to expect honesty from those types.

  10. steve fort says:

    our govt. scares the hell out of me right now! and it should you as well! the second amendment was made as to allow us to always be able to defend our selves from those who would harm us! ie…the govt., terrorists, criminals and the like!!


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