No action taken yet on Sweeny FID Bill or Fifty Caliber Ban.
This afternoon, Governor Christie announced that he signed 10 of the gun bills on his desk. Two of those bills are helpful to gun owners, six are neutral in their impact on gun rights as a result of amendments based on gun owner input, and two were opposed by gun owners.
Three other horrific anti-gun bills – the worst of the bills that made it to the Governor’s desk -have not yet been acted upon by Governor Christie: the Sweeney “centerpiece” FID bill, the fifty caliber ban, and the trace data bill that would require the State Police to violate federal law.
The 3 anti-gun bills on which the Governor has NOT yet acted are:
S2723 – the awful Sweeney “omnibus” bill, which throws out existing FID cards and replaces them with either a privacy-invading driver license endorsement or other form of ID; suspends Second Amendment rights without proof of firearms training; ends private sales between background-checked licensed gun owners; effectively creates a registry of ammunition purchases and long gun sales; and imposes a 7-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
A3659 – the fifty caliber gun ban, which in its final version bans firearms that shoot centerfire cartridges of any caliber that attain a muzzle energy of 12,000 ft-lbs. or greater. Though limited grandfathering has been added in response to gun owner concerns, the firearms must be registered, cannot be passed down to heirs, and owners will be civilly liable for damages if the firearm is used in a crime. Additionally, the bill has been amended specifically to prevent anyone with a pending order for these firearms from taking possession of them.
A3797 – Mandates that the State Police publicly disclose confidential ATF gun trace data in violation of explicit federal law limiting that data to law enforcement use only. This is an attempt by frustrated gun banners to circumvent the federal Tiarht Amendment, so that idiosyncrasies of the ATF’s trace system can be exploited and manipulated to falsely suggest that law abiding citizens are a source of “crime guns.” ATF has opposed similar efforts to circumvent confidentiality, which could compromise ongoing investigations. Note: a conditional veto by the Governor removing just the offending parts of A3797 would be sufficient.
The 2 bills that HELP gun owners which the Governor has signed are:
A3788 – Prevents public disclosure of personal information of licensed firearms owners, including name, address, and phone number. The legislation prevents a repeat of what happened in New York State in January, when several newspapers obtained personal information of Empire State gun owners via freedom of information requests and then published that information both in print and on the internet. Publishing personal information of gun owners jeopardizes their safety and makes them targets for gun theft, in addition to raising significant privacy concerns.
A3796 – Addresses an anomaly in New Jersey ‘s “assault” firearms statute that prevents those still in possession of banned firearms from lawfully disposing of them. This bill reopens a compliance window for a short time during which banned firearms could be lawfully disposed of. Although the compliance window is too short, and the bill fails to allow for lawful disposition of banned magazines and ammunition, it nonetheless offers a limited compliance opportunity that is a temporary improvement over current law.
The 2 bills opposed by gun owners which the Governor signed are:
A3687 – Terror Watch List bill. Makes it possible to suspend Second Amendment rights without a specified requirement of due process, based on a secret government list compiled by federal bureaucrats with no published standards, no identified procedure to correct errors, and potential for enormous abuse by those in power. Proponents of the bill have argued that due process is available because there is a right to appeal any permit denial under New Jersey law.
A3717 – Requires submission of certain mental health records to NICS without an explicit, stated requirement of due process within the legislation itself. ANJRPC has no objection to the core purpose of this legislation, but believes that the legislation needed to explicitly state that only records of persons who have had judicial due process (with a right of appeal) should be submitted to NICS. Proponents of the bill have argued that the NICS system itself, as well as New Jersey mental health law, contain independent due process requirements.
The 6 bills signed by the Governor that have been neutralized in their impact on gun rights are:
S1279 – Upgrades penalty for unlawful transfer of a firearm to a minor (specifically amended to exempt lawful instruction and training, competition and target shooting)
S2720 – Makes records regarding the total number of FID cards and handgun permits issued subject to public disclosure (does not disclose identity of gun owners)
S2804 – Upgrades penalty for unlawful firearms possession by felons or those engaged in serious criminal behavior.
S2430 – Creates a study commission on gun violence.
S2468 – Permits vehicle impoundment where felons or those engaged in serious criminal behavior are unlawfully in possession of firearms.
S2719 – Anti-trafficking legislation (amended to prevent numerous unintended consequences to legal gun owners).