The final legislation in the New Jersey Senate introduces two new gun-control measures to the state’s laws, both designed to reduce and restrict automatic weapon usage, criminal lawyers in New Jersey report. The limits have been set despite serious opposition from activists for gun rights in the state, who claim that the laws will violate their Second Amendment rights to bear arms, and will have no impact on current levels of gun violence.
The first bill, S-2006, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, D-Camden. It passed in a 22-17 vote in the Senate and a 46-31 vote in the Assembly, and will reduce magazine size to ten rounds, instead of the current maximum of 15. Ten rounds is the limit imposed in six other states and the District of Columbia as well. In February of 2013, the Assembly passed a similar version of this bill, but Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, refused to consider it. However, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut last December, Sweeney changed his mind and now supports the measure. If S-2006 is enacted, anyone who owns an ammunition clip with more than 10 rounds will be given three months to comply with the new 10-round restriction.
The second bill, A-2777, is sponsored by Assmeblymen Joseph Lagana, D-Passaic, and Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, and will restrict travel plans for gun owners, disallowing owners to deviate from their established routes when they are transporting their guns. A-2777 passed in the Senate in a 21-17 vote, and the Assembly in a 43-29 vote earlier this year. Currently, state law allows people who are transporting weapons from one place to another to deviate from their set travel plans only when the deviation is “reasonably necessary.” A-2777 will more narrowly define a reasonably necessary deviation to encompass only those changes related to “collecting and discharging certain passengers, purchasing fuel, using a restroom, and contending with an emergency situation.” A-2777 and S-2006 will now be taken to Governor Chris Christie, who has not yet said that he will sign either measure.
Representatives for Ceasefire NJ and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, two of the bills’ staunchest supporters, say that the measures represent a “reasonable compromise” between those who want to retain their ability to own and shoot guns for sport and personal use, and those who want to exert control in the interest of public safety. The parents of the 20 children shot and killed by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook shooting last year also supported the bills’ passage.
The National Rifle Association and other opponents, however, say that the new laws will restrict only legal gun owners and sportsmen, because criminals like Lanza and other school shooters would likely have disregarded the laws. Several local competitive shooters testified before the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, arguing that the bills will render their pistols “worthless,” forcing them to look out of state for residence.
Gun control laws are monitored by the criminal lawyers at New Jersey law firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, to better represent persons charged with gun crimes or unlawful possession. Contact an HCK criminal attorney to discuss your case today.