On Monday, December 7, the New Jersey Assembly passed two bills that will impact New Jersey gun owners; A4304 passed 77-0 and A4301 by a vote of 72-3-2. Also Monday, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee passed three bills with unanimous consent; S3068 (which is the Senate version of A4304), S3076 (which is the Senate version of A4301), and S3104, which would provide limited exemptions for those purchasing more than one handgun per month.
Assembly Bill 4304 and S3068 would 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, simply put, is an attempt by New Jersey to comply with the grant eligibility requirements set forth in the NICS Improvement Act, passed by Congress in 2007.
Proponents of S3104 claim that it would 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. New Jersey gun owners 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 12-14 weeks (despite New Jersey law which requires permits to be processed within 30 days).
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.
S3104 now heads to the full Senate for a vote which is expected to take place on Thursday. It is important that you contact your State Senator and respectfully urge them to remove the language forcing law-abiding citizens who have cleared a background check to justify their multiple purchases. Contact information can be found below.
A4304/S3068 and A4301/S3076 will now go before the full Senate this Thursday. Please contact your State Senator and respectfully urge them to pass A4304/S3068. Contact information for your State Senator can be found here.