“Feel Good” Bills On Firearm Restrictions

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On March 26, the New Jersey Assembly voted on six bills concerning the regulation of firearms. The bills are simply “feel good” bills which will have a net zero effect on public safety in New Jersey. They all passed Assembly and are headed to the Senate. The Senate has the opportunity to be more thoughtful and re-review these flawed proposed laws.

In New Jersey, we are already under some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Yet, with those strict gun control laws, we have cities with some of the highest crime rates in the United States: Camden, Trenton and Newark. Further gun control measures only hurt the law abiding citizen, as criminals have no respect for the law as it is already written.

A breakdown of the bills are as follows:

A2671 (Magazine Ban/Gun Ban) – Restricting the magazine capacity down from 15 to 10 rounds. This bill does nothing to add to public safety. Recent shootings and past shootings have been done with 10 round magazines. The Clinton Gun Control measures that restricted firearms to 10 rounds nationally for a decade yielded no appreciable positive effect. Further, there is no concession in the bill to reimburse gun owners for their personal property when it becomes illegal.

A1217 (No-Notice Suspension of Gun Rights) – This bill, while seeming well-intentioned, removes the due process of our rights. It is a breakdown of our 4th Amendment Rights. Police can already seize firearms from dangerous persons. This is a dangerous bill that can lead to the harassment of gun owners based on personal feelings.

A1181 (Allows Suspension of Gun Rights by Unaccountable “Health Professionals”) – This bill is too broad and will lead to a system where mental health professionals will deny the rights of citizens based on the possibility of liability. The recently signed into law by President Trump, fix NICS bill, will essentially mitigate many of the problems we have with our background checks and also act as a bridge between mental health professionals and the FBI reporting system.

A2758 (Kills Self-Defense) – Taking the current unconstitutional code of Justifiable Need and making it statute will only blaze the way for a stronger lawsuits against NJ. As enumerated in Heller, you cannot regulate rights on a case by case basis. The only people in New Jersey that get Concealed Carry Permits are former police, security guards and the politically connected.

A2759 (Bans Ammunition That is Already Banned – Concerning armor piercing ammo, this is a moot, feel good legislation. The ammo is already banned.

A2757 (Background Checks on Sales That Already Require Background Checks) – This bill makes it so private sales require an FFL and background check in order to go forward. You need to pass a background check to get an FID card, in the event of a shotgun or rifle private sale.  You need to pass a background check to get a pistol permit in order to execute a private pistol transfer. This is redundant and going to add cost to the law abiding gun owners. As it is, NICS is supposed to be federally funded and free to the consumer. NJ imposes a fee for this service (WHY?) If the NICS check was free and available to all gun owners without the use of an FFL, this bill would make sense a little…it is redundant and will do nothing to mitigate criminal use of firearms. It has been proven already that the gross majority of illegal firearms are transferred into the state, not through private sales between NJ citizens. Further, gun runners are regularly released on the bail reform program. How about locking up the real criminals and gun runners?

As citizens of New Jersey, you need to look closely what the legislature is doing. It does not matter what side of the fence you are on, this is about restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Our rights are in peril and don’t think that other rights such as freedom of speech and freedom from search and seizure are immune from this habit of unconstitutional behavior. Take a chance to ponder this and maybe call, write, fax or email your legislator inquiring about their views on your rights as a tax payer.

The Assembly failed us…Maybe the Senate will hold up to their oath of office where the Assembly did not:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and to the Governments established in the United States and in this State, under the authority of the people; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Senator according to the best of my ability. So help me God.”


John J. Petrolino III


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