Additional legislation to revise New Jersey's one-gun-per-month law while continuing to protect law-abiding residents and businesses was approved Monday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The legislation stems from recommendations by a special task force that reviewed the law. The law took effect Saturday and is designed to restrict straw purchases and illegal handgun trafficking, but Assemblymen John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) and Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), both members of the Firearms Task Force and cosponsors of the legislation, maintain the law would also penalizes many law-abiding gun owners unless changed.
The bill (A-4361) provides limited exemptions for certain persons to lawfully purchase more than one handgun within a 30-day period, specifically persons who wish to purchase multiple handguns from an estate or inheritance, collectors of firearms, and persons who use firearms for competitive and recreational purposes.
The committee also released legislation, AJR-133, to create a task force is to review, evaluate and make recommendations regarding New Jersey's statutory and regulatory schemes and programmatic initiatives to curb the illegal possession, use and trafficking of firearms, the criminal penalties for illegal transfer of firearms and the firearm permitting and regulatory processes.
Under the bill, a person who seeks an exemption would apply to the State Police superintendent. The superintendent would be authorized to approve the purchase of more than one handgun within a 30-day period if the applicant demonstrates to the superintendent's satisfaction that the request meets the requirements of one of the bill's specified exemptions.
The superintendent may grant an exemption to an applicant who: Wishes to purchase multiple handguns from a person who obtain ed the handguns through inheritance or intestacy; Is a collector of handguns and has a need to purchase or otherwise receive multiple handguns in the same transaction or within a 30-day period in furtherance of the applicant's collecting activities; or participates in sanctioned handgun shooting competitions and needs to purchase or otherwise receive multiple handguns in a single transaction or within a 30-day period, and the need is related to the applicant's competitive shooting activities, including use in or training for sanctioned competitions.
Another Burzichelli-Johnson bill, A-4304, which clarified that transfers of handguns between licensed retail dealers, registered wholesale dealers and registered manufacturers are exempted from the monthly limit was signed into law Saturday by Gov. Jon Corzine.
The Monday bills were released 6-0 by the committee. The package was approved by the Senate in December and now moves to the full Assembly for a possible floor vote.
"This is a common sense compromise that does nothing to impair the goal of protecting public safety by keeping criminals from obtaining multiple weapons at once," Burzichelli said. "These changes would correct some unintended consequences while also protecting law-abiding citizens and legitimate businesses."
Johnson said, "These changes would allow us to continue targeting straw purchases and other illegal handgun trafficking, but would provide reasonable exemptions that make sense. In the end, these changes are simply clarifications that don't interfere with protecting public safety and combating handgun trafficking."
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM