The New Jersey General Assembly approved half a dozen gun safety bills on Monday, just two days after the March for Our Lives rallies that drew thousands to anti-gun demonstrations across the country.
People deemed a threat to themselves or others would not be able to buy guns, background checks would be enhanced, ammunition magazine capacity would be reduced, armor-piercing ammunition would be banned, and other measures would be taken to counter efforts to weaken regulations if the bills become laws.
Governor Phil Murphy pledged to sign the bills if they are approved by the New Jersey Senate.
“The energy of the tens of thousands of New Jerseyans this past weekend demanding action on gun safety continues today. I applaud the General Assembly for passing these commonsense gun measures to protect our communities and families,” Murphy said. “I look forward to the State Senate taking these bills up as quickly as possible and sending them to my desk for my signature. The people of New Jersey have demanded we act, and we must.”
Bill A-1217, the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018, establishes a process and procedures for obtaining a protective order against people who pose a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm. The order would prohibit the subject of the order from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, and permit to carry a handgun.
Bill A-2757 requires background check for private gun sales. All sales or other transfers of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to be conducted through a retail dealer licensed under state law or a federal firearms licensee. The licensee would be required to complete a national instant criminal background check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun. Exceptions under the bill include transactions between members of an immediate family, between law enforcement officers, between licensed collectors of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics, and temporary transfers to participate in certain training courses.
Bill A-1181 requires firearms seizures when certain health care professionals determine that patients pose a threat of harm to self or others.
Bill A-2761 reduces the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, exempts firearms with .22 caliber tubular magazines from 10 round limitation, and bans firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Magazines capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition currently are legal in New Jersey. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia all have 10-round limits on ammunition magazines for use with any firearm.
Bill A-2759 makes it a crime of the fourth degree to possess handgun ammunition that has the capacity to breach or penetrate body armor.
Bill A-2758 codifies regulations defining justifiable need to carry handgun. The definition of “justifiable need” currently is outlined in state regulations, but is not codified in state statute. The measure is a response to ex-Governor Chris Christie’s effort to expand the definition of “justifiable need” for the purpose of obtaining a permit to carry a gun.