In yet another ill-thought-out, post-Sandy Hook measure, the New Jersey Senate voted 22-17 (a pure party line vote) to pass a bill that would criminalize possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. “As legislators we vowed to do our part because we were so shocked and heartbroken by” Sandy Hook. So the NJ legislature is “taking another step to fulfill a promise that many of us here made to the parents of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School,” according to Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County and the bill’s sponsor. (You can reach Senator Weinberg’s office in Teaneck at (201) 928-0100).
The bill – A2006 – changes the definition of “large capacity ammunition magazine” from magazines capable of holding 15 rounds to one capable of holding only 10 rounds. While it does not exempt antique firearms or those with fixed magazines, it does exempt “an attached tubular device which is capable of holding only .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.” It also excludes retired and active law enforcement.
Non-law enforcement owners of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds would have 180 days to sell the rifle or magazine to a legal buyer, render it inoperable, or surrender it to law enforcement after giving written notice of intent to surrender.
While this has passed the NJ Senate, it still needs to pass the House and receive Governor Christie’s signature. (The bill initially passed the House, but was amended in the Senate, requiring the House to pass it again).
In somewhat happier news, however, the NJ Senate also passed a measure -A2777 – that (somewhat) defines what New Jersey considers to be “reasonably necessary” “deviations” when transporting firearms through the state. While there is still plenty of room for interpretation as to what “deviations” are “reasonably necessary,” the Senate has at least explicitly stated that getting gas and using the restroom are “reasonably necessary.” Also included are the vague scenarios “contending with an emergency situation” and “other reasonably necessary deviations of no more than 15 minutes in duration.” It should be noted that, in order to be lawfully transporting a firearm through NJ, the firearms must be unloaded and secured in a “closed and fastened case . . . or locked in the trunk.”
Again, these two bills have not been signed into law as of today, although they have passed the Senate.