New Jersey and Gun Control
By Eileen F. Toplansky
The gun control conundrum will continue ad infinitum. But what is happening in New Jersey should frighten anyone — gun owner or not. NJS102 will most likely be affirmed by the Democrat senate majority in the NJ legislature. The NJ Assembly has already passed the following:
- A1217, which would create restraining orders in the state allowing family members and others to ask a judge to have a person’s guns seized and ban them from buying weapons for up to a year.
- A2757, which would require all private gun sales in the state to go through a licensed dealer who can perform an additional background check at the point of sale.
- A2759, which would create an outright ban in the state on possessing armor-piercing bullets.
- A2761, which would ban magazines in the state that hold more than 10 rounds, with some exceptions.
How will this affect gun owners? The proposed legislation states that
No person shall be convicted of an offense… for possessing any firearms, weapons, destructive devices, large capacity ammunition magazines, silencers or explosives, if after giving written notice of his intention to do so, including the proposed date and time of surrender, he voluntarily surrendered [emphasis mine] the weapon, device, instrument or substance in question to the superintendent or to the chief of police in the municipality in which he resides, provided that the required notice is received by the superintendent or chief of police before any charges have been made or complaints filed [.]
Furthermore, a firearm with a fixed magazine capacity holding up to 15 rounds which is incapable of being modified to accommodate 10 or less rounds is to be registered. If not, the firearms owner “must complete a registration statement to be prescribed by the Superintendent of the State Police, and produce for inspection a valid firearms purchaser identification card, permit to carry a handgun, or permit to purchase a handgun.”
Moreover, “the heir or estate of an owner of a firearm which has been registered pursuant to this section shall within 90 days after the owner’s death dispose of that firearm in accordance to the sections of the proposed law.”
New Jersey is now coercing a portion of the population to hand over their defensive weapons or else. The consequences of not obeying these regulations are as follows:
In revising the definition of semi-automatic rifles considered to be an assault firearm as those with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rather than 15 rounds, the possession of such weapons, if unlicensed or unregistered, is a second degree crime. Since a crime of the second degree is punishable by five to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $150,000, or both, the bill may cause indeterminate additional court and criminal prosecution costs to the State (Judicial and Executive branch) and localities, indeterminate increased costs of incarceration to the Department of Corrections, and indeterminate additional revenue from court-imposed fines.
In revising the definition of large capacity ammunition magazines as containers capable of holding more than 10 rather than 15 rounds, the bill makes possession of these magazines, if unregistered, a crime of the fourth degree. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
[t]he bill may increase State revenues and expenditures by indeterminate amounts, and may also cause local revenues and expenditures to increase by indeterminate amounts.
This amounts to confiscation of property, punishment by grandfathering and establishing ex post facto law which is “law that makes illegal an act that was legal when committed, increases the penalties for an infraction after it has been committed, or changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier. The Constitution prohibits the making of ex post facto law.”
Moreover, New Jersey A1181 “mandates law enforcement in the state to seize a person’s guns if a mental health professional determines they pose a threat to themselves or others.” But what if the gun belongs to a family member — what of that person’s constitutional rights? Will that individual have to surrender his weapons? Will that person be fined or incarcerated?
Will a spouse of a law enforcement officer be held liable if she resorts to using her husband’s legal 15-round firearm when he is out of town and she has to face down an intruder? Do I detect a double standard here?
In addition, New Jersey A2758 “mandates that state residents need to show a ‘justifiable need’ to obtain a permit to carry a handgun — meaning they must show they face a specific threat to their own safety. It gives the state far too much power and that is potentially dangerous. What if the threat is deemed inconsequential and someone is murdered by a jealous boyfriend?
Other relevant considerations include:
Banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds will not reduce the lethality of a criminal who can obtain high-capacity magazines from other states. In addition, it will cause owners of these guns to incur a financial loss of millions of dollars because (a) of the destruction of the magazines, and (b) eventual replacement with these new magazines. Thus, there is a loss of value, not only once but twice.
Consequently, “[t]hose who pass such laws will instantly be creating not just criminals, but armed criminals by the thousands, or more! At the stroke of a pen!!”
Furthermore, removing a part of a collectible firearm will reduce the value of that item.
Some firearms are specifically designed for 15 round magazines and may not function properly with lower capacity after-market magazines. The possibility of malfunction may cause injury or loss of life. In addition, gun stores will lose a great deal of inventory and subsequent profit as a result of this law.
Finally, an individual with ill intent can do just as much harm as quickly with six 10-round magazines. Thus, gun control advocates will continually insist upon incremental reductions to the number of magazine rounds until total gun control is in place.
Will politicians who are protected by armed security ask their security agents to reduce the rounds from 15 to 10 rounds — just to make it fair?
On the other hand, Chris Ladd writes that
No one is permitted to drive on our roads without obtaining a license. Every automobile is registered. Every transaction is taxed. All vehicle owners are required to maintain insurance to cover potential harm. Despite tight regulation, car ownership is ubiquitous. Cars remain a major cause of injury and death, but insurance has played a critical role over the years in driving safety improvements…
Our habit of imposing complicated and confusing restrictions on weapons by type and shape is largely theater, designed to create a sensation of progress while avoiding the fundamental problem [emphasis mine].
Instead, Ladd asserts that “we should adopt a simpler, more powerful solution. Register every gun and every gun sale. Require gun owners to obtain a license. Make liability insurance a requirement for every gun owner, tracked to every gun. Require proof of insurance for every sale. Track sales of ammunition, just like we track the sale of Sudafed. Make these gun and ammunition registries available to law enforcement. It is a simple, constitutional approach that preserves the right of responsible adults to own as many weapons as they want, so long as they can demonstrate responsible, safe ownership.”
In New Jersey there is already a permit registration for handguns at the state and local police level. In addition, when an individual buys handgun ammunition he/she has to obtain a firearms identification card and the sale is noted by the vendor. This is available for review by law enforcement. Liability insurance is a good idea but individual ammunition sales should not be tracked because it would become excessively complicated.
David Kopel in “The Truth About Gun Control” asserts that “gun prohibition has many bases, among them the pacifist-aggressives — people who want to use the force and violence of criminal law to make everyone else live by their personal philosophy of not using defensive force against violent attackers.”
At one level, these new gun restrictions are extortion plots for more money. But more frightening, New Jersey is acting in a totalitarian manner as it works to control and punish its citizenry.
Ostensibly all this legislation is a result of school shootings. But it still will not protect students from random school shootings. Students would be far better served with metal detectors at all entryways and professionally trained and authorized armed security officers.
These encroachments are not about gun control; they are about people control.
(TLB) published this article by Eileen F. Toplansky from American Thinker.
Eileen can be reached at [email protected]
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