Press release from the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs:
In a dramatic upset in the timing of the “centerpiece” of the Democrats’ gun bill package, the New Jersey Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee [above] failed to muster enough votes to pass S2723/A4182 out of committee. In a stunning turn of events, it became apparent during a roll call vote that there were not a sufficient number of Democratic votes for the bill. Rather than complete the roll call as required by legislative rules, chaos and confusion ensued as the committee chairman and staffers halted the proceedings mid-roll-call and huddled in an adjacent room while they figured out what to do . . .
Republican members of the committee protested the unprecedented procedure and argued with the chairman. Rather than completing the embarrassing vote, the chairman made a face-saving announcement that the bill was being “held” for further amendment at a future meeting.
It is highly irregular, and likely against legislative rules, to halt a vote once it has begun.
It is anticipated that the bill will resurface at another Assembly committee meeting later this month, where Democrats will use legislative maneuvers to either change the committee members to ensure a favorable outcome, or move the bill through an entirely different committee where they can better control the outcome.
“The game is completely rigged in Trenton,” said ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach. “The Democrats suffered an embarrassing delay today, but they will be back with a vengeance and attempt every procedural trick in the book to ensure the passage of their centerpiece bill.”
The stalled Sweeney bill 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; imposes a 7-day waiting period for handgun purchases; ends all private sales; and effectively creates a registry of ammunition purchases and long gun sales. Democrats have touted the bill as a national model.
Leading up to the unusual committee result, there was sharp testimony from several gun rights activists, including ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach, who ripped the bill as “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist”and “an irrational attack” on gun owners. Bach mocked the suggestion that New Jersey is a “national model” for anything, told legislators to leave responsible gun owners alone, and urged them to pull their “centerpiece” off the table. Apparently, some Democrats agreed.
Other bills on the agenda passed out of committee, but those bills have either been previously amended so they only impact criminals, or they do not impact Second Amendment rights.