The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) brings us up to speed on New Jersey’s impending gun ban bills, starting with A2006:
Anti-gun legislators’ attempt to ban ammunition magazines over 10 rounds (A2006) is a lot more than “just” a magazine ban. It’s also a gun ban that would outlaw some of the most popular .22 rifles in the United States, turn their owners into felons, and force them to abandon their property or go to jail for as long as ten years – essentially a confiscation. Among other things, A2006 would make the following change to existing law: “‘Assault Firearm’ means…A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding
15 10 rounds.” Please note this is only one of several changes that A2006 would make . . .
This change would flat-out ban many common and popular tube-fed, semi-automatic .22 rifles (we previously listed over 40 different guns that would be banned). Those in possession of these popular guns would be turned into felons overnight for possession of so-called “assault” firearms – a second degree crime in New Jersey carrying up to ten years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 3-5 years, with no chance of parole.
The Washington Times recently covered this story, mentioning ANJRPC by name.
A2006 contains no grandfathering to protect current owners, and no amnesty period or procedure for current owners who wish to comply.
Existing owners would be thrown to the wolves – forced to abandon their property or go to prison – a form of confiscation.
A2006 MAGAZINE BAN
Less hidden in A2006 than the gun ban, is its stated purpose: to ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. This is based on the naïve and false assumption that removing a particular type of tool from society will somehow make everyone safer.
Those bent on doing evil will not be stopped or deterred just because a particular tool becomes less available or unavailable. If box cutters could bring down the World Trade Center, does anyone really believe that banning box cutters will stop the next terrorist attack? The same is true of firearms – banning a particular tool will not deter someone who is determined to do evil.
Also, criminals and madmen don’t follow magazine bans, or any other type of ban for that matter. Criminals laugh at laws that target hardware. Only law-abiding citizens are affected by hardware bans, because they’re the only ones that follow them. The net effect is that the law-abiding are put at a disadvantage against the lawless. The only thing that criminals understand is severe punishment.
Even if a magic wand could be waved in the land of anti-gun fantasy and remove all 10+ round magazines from the planet, no one would be made any safer, because magazines can be changed very quickly. The theory that a magazine change provides an opportunity to “tackle” an assailant is unsound and unsupported by the weight of the evidence.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens from harm, which means that citizens are on their own in an emergency and cannot rely on 911. Yet rather than enhance the ability of citizens to defend themselves when an emergency or home invasion strikes, A2006 would instead tie their hands and put them at a disadvantage against criminals who will ignore the magazine ban.
Magazine bans are also completely arbitrary and their logic, if followed, have the potential to lead to a complete ban on all rounds. The idea that an eleventh round is somehow more lethal than the tenth is absurd, and the exact same logic could be applied to a second round in relation to the first, or even the first round itself.
The Constitutional right of self-defense is sacrosanct, and a magazine ban directly and significantly interferes with that right.
A2777 – TRANSPORTATION “FIX” NEEDS TO BE FIXED
A2777 was recently touted as part of a deal among democrats to pacify gun owners in light of the impending gun ban / mag ban legislation described above. The legislation was supposed to fix the longstanding problem of what constitutes “reasonable deviations” from the direct transportation of firearms required by New Jersey law. Legal gun owners face prison sentences of up to ten years if they stop while properly transporting unloaded, locked firearms, unless they meet certain technical requirements and the stop is deemed a “reasonable deviation” in transportation.
Unfortunately, A2777 as written does not actually fix the problem, and makes the situation worse than under current law. The “fix” needs to be fixed.
Under current law, judges have discretion to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a particular set of circumstances constitutes a reasonable deviation. While that is a double-edged sword, and current law provides no guidance as to what a reasonable deviation is, at least gun owners caught within New Jersey’s tangled web of hyper-technical regulations have a chance at demonstrating to a judge that their particular transportation deviation was reasonable, and judges have the flexibility to prevent outrageous, absurd prison sentences where someone stops briefly and innocently while in lawful transit with firearms.
While the current proposal does contain a short list of circumstances that would be deemed reasonable, the wording of that proposal would limit reasonable deviations to just the items on that list, and prevent judges from finding that any other circumstance was a reasonable deviation. Judges would lose the discretion that they currently have to determine whether any other deviation is reasonable, and gun owners would still be facing jeopardy of potential 10-year prison sentences for common, innocent stops while en route to the range, because of deep flaws and omissions in the articulated list.
The list of acceptable deviations in A2777 is tiny, stingy, and poorly crafted, without meaningful insight into real-world occurrences that affect most gun owners. While that list contains some beneficial circumstances, it also omits numerous foreseeable circumstances and creates more questions and ambiguities than it resolves. It limits reasonable deviations to only what is in that list, and removes judicial discretion to resolve other circumstances, which means law-abiding gun owners will go to prison if their stop does not fit into the poorly-crafted list.
The list could represent a small, incremental improvement over current law judicial discretion to resolve additional unforeseen circumstances were retained. Until it does, it cannot be regarded as an improvement and it should be opposed if it is not amended – and the following simple, single word change would restore judicial discretion in unforeseen circumstances:
For the purposes of this section, “deviations as are reasonably necessary”
meansincludes collecting and discharging passengers whose transportation is permitted under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section, purchasing fuel, using a restroom, and contending with an emergency situation. A person transporting a weapon pursuant to this subsection shall comply with all other applicable State laws relating to weapons.
ANJRPC has now provided this input to legislative leaders but has not received any assurance that the legislation will be amended before it is heard in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Thursday.
A2777 was introduced this session without seeking any input from Second Amendment leaders. That is a slap in the face to gun owners, who worked for months on a comprehensive, effective deviations bill last year and were promised that it would be passed last June. That proposal was agreed and accepted by legislative leadership until it was scuttled by an anti-gun-rights legislator, and the promise from legislative leaders was broken.
A2777 bears little resemblance to last year’s proposal, though it does retain some elements of it. Based on the dynamics of the current legislative session, it does not appear likely that last year’s comprehensive proposal will be considered, which is why have confined our input on this legislation to the single, simple word change highlighted above, to which there can be no reasonable objection, and which should be attainable — who can possibly object to retaining judicial discretion to address circumstances not contemplated by legislators?
Accordingly, ANJRPC opposes A2777 in its current form, because it makes the current reasonable deviations law even worse by removing judicial discretion to address circumstances not contemplated in the short, stingy list it presents.
However, if amended as highlighted above, ANJRPC would view A2777 as a small, incremental improvement over current law, and would remove its opposition.