On Thursday, December 10, the New Jersey Senate passed three bills of interest to New Jersey gun owners. Two bills, S3068/A4304 and S3076/A4301 both head to Governor Corzine’s desk for his consideration and S3104 moves to the Assembly for consideration in January.
Since the introduction of “one-gun-a-month” legislation, we have argued that the bill was poorly drafted, ill conceived and relied upon the false premise that law-abiding New Jersey gun owners are the cause of crime. The truth of the matter is that New Jersey residents are already some of the most heavily regulated in the nation and New Jersey's "one-gun-a-month" law simply heaps additional complications on an already overly burdensome process. Prospective gun owners in New Jersey already have to apply for a Firearms ID card, which includes a background check, fingerprints, photographs and references. In addition to possessing a Firearms ID Card, those wishing to purchase a handgun must obtain a Permit to Purchase from local police for each handgun purchase, which may take as long as 12 to 14 weeks.
S3068/A4304 passed 39 to 0 in the Senate and will clarify the original language of the "one-gun-a-month" law, by exempting the “transfer of handguns among licensed retail dealers, registered wholesale dealers and registered manufacturers; or transfers of handguns from any person to a licensed retail dealer or a registered wholesale dealer or registered manufacturer.” A4304 and S3068 would exempt purchases by licensed dealers from firearm distributors or manufacturers from the law prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun in a 30-day period.
Assembly Bill 4301/S3076 approved 36 to 0, is a good faith attempt by New Jersey to comply with the grant eligibility requirements set forth in the NICS Improvement Act, passed by Congress in 2007.
S3104, passed 38 to 0, now moves over to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee in January. Proponents claim that that this measure will address the problems with New Jersey's "one-gun-a-month" law; however, it falls far short of doing so. While it would, in limited circumstances, allow a law-abiding person to purchase multiple handguns, an individual would only be able to do so after filing a formal application with the State Police. In addition, the individual would need to justify why they "need" to purchase these firearms together and why it would not be “feasible or practical” to purchase the firearms separately.
The notion that honest persons, thoroughly investigated by the state, should have to beg further permission and show why it is not “feasible or practical” to ration their Constitutional rights is offensive and insulting, and represents another promise broken by the politicians involved in the Firearms Task Force.