NJ Legislature Passes Bill Banning Sale of .50 Caliber Firearms

| by Dabney Bailey
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The New Jersey Legislature has sent a landmark gun control bill to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. If Christie gives the bill his John Hancock, the new law would overhaul the state’s permit system by replacing paper permits with digitized cards and it would require prospective gun buyers to attend gun training class. Another gun control bill headed to Christie would prohibit the purchase of .50 caliber firearms.

These bills have had a shaky start. Republicans in the legislature have cried foul and argued that Democrats violate the rules to push the legislation through.

The bill was up for a vote in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee back on June 6, but Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D) abruptly called a halt to the meeting and put the bill on hold and cited new amendments that were recently added to the bill.

The bill never returned to the committee. Instead, it went to the Assembly Budget Committee where it passed with a party-line vote.

Daniel Schmutter, a lawyer representing pro-gun groups, wrote in a letter to Speaker Sheila Oliver (D), “Once the roll-call began, the committee was bound to complete the voting, regardless of the outcome. Aborting the nearly completed roll call was out of order and an abuse of process ... While a legislative body may apply its rules with some degree of flexibility, that flexibility does not allow for the manipulation of voting results in bad faith, as was the case here.”

Tom Hester, a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats, dismissed the complaint.

“Nothing improper happened,” he said. “The rule they are citing pertains to floor roll calls, not committee votes. There are no specific rules for committee votes.”

If Schmutter and the pro-gun crowd cannot sway Oliver into stepping in, it will ultimately be up to Christie to have the last say on the bills. Considering Christie’s pro-gun control stance, there is a fairly good chance that Oliver’s inaction will lead to these bill becoming a law.

Source: North Jersey