NJ Senate approves seven key gun safety bills

TRENTON, NJ — The N.J. Senate approved seven key gun safety bills on June 29 with the aim to help prevent gun violence in New Jersey.

Sponsored by Senate President Nick Scutari, and Senators Joe Cryan, Richard Codey and Andrew Zwicker, the bills would prohibit .50-caliber rifles, crack down on ghost guns, strictly control the use of body armor, require microstamping, require firearms training, regulate the sale of handgun ammunition and have new residents register firearms from other states.

“These are well–thought-out, commonsense solutions that are targeted to actual areas of gun control in both the legal and illegal gun markets,” said Scutari, who represents parts of Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties. “They have the best opportunity to prevent gun violence and provide a safe environment for our public without infringing on the constitutional right to bear arms.”

“The surge in gun violence has been horribly tragic, with lives lost, victims wounded and loved ones suffering heartbreak,” said Cryan, the former Union County sheriff. “We have to continue to do all we can to keep deadly firearms out of the hands of those who pose a danger, off the streets, away from schools and out of our communities.”

“As we have all seen recently, gun violence is a real and scary risk in our country and we must act now to reduce the frequency at which it occurs,” said Codey, who represents parts of Essex and Morris counties. “We must ensure that gun owners are aware of how to safely handle and store a firearm to better protect our residents from unnecessary harm. Additionally, by incorporating microstamping technology, law enforcement would have a critical aid that would assist them in tracking down weapons used in crimes. We have to do all that we can on God’s green Earth to stop these shootings from occurring. Everyone needs to be held accountable, and if you misuse a firearm, you shouldn’t be able to get away with it.”

“We have to take the actions we can to keep our communities safe,” said Zwicker, who represents parts of Middlesex, Mercer, Somerset and Hunterdon counties. “Making sure that owners of firearms follow the laws and procedures for gun safety is important. We have some of the strongest gun laws in the country — we want every resident to follow them.”

The bills are as follows:

  • .50 Caliber Rifles, S-2905: The bill would prohibit the future sale and possession of high-powered, .50-caliber rifles by civilians. It would set the strict limits by revising the legal definition of a “destructive device” to include rifles capable of firing a projectile of .50 caliber or greater. 
  • Ghost Guns, S-2846: The bill would increase penalties for crimes related to the manufacture or construction of ghost guns, which are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. It would upgrade from a third degree to a second degree the penalties for purchasing parts to manufacture a firearm without a serial number, construct a firearm with a three-dimensional printer, manufacture an undetectable firearm or transport a firearm without a serial number.
  • Body Armor, S-2847: The bill would prohibit the possession of body armor and require registration in certain circumstances. It would prohibit the sale/transferring of body armor without a permit, limiting most use to law enforcement and the armed services. The attorney general would develop regulations and oversee permits. This would be the toughest body armor law in the country.
  • Handgun Ammunition, S-2903: The bill regulates the sale of handgun ammunition and requires ammunition purchasers to exhibit a valid ID.
  • Micro Stamping, S-2907: This bill would require licensed retail dealers of firearms to sell microstamping-enabled firearms when the attorney general determines they are commercially available. Microstamping is a ballistics identification technology in which markings are engraved onto the tip of a gun’s firing pin and onto the breech face of the firearm with a laser. When the gun is later fired, these etchings are ultimately transferred to the cartridge case head.
  • Firearms Training, S-2906: The bill requires safety training prior to issuance of a firearms purchaser identification card. The safety instruction in the safe handling and storage of firearms would be approved by the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. It also requires a color photograph and thumb print of the gun card holder. 
  • New Resident Gun Licensing, S-1204: Anyone who brings a gun with them when they relocate to New Jersey would have 60 days to obtain a purchaser identification card and register their weapon with municipal or state law enforcement. It would hold people from out of state to the gun safety standard that New Jersey holds all other N.J. residents.