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An Overview of New Jersey’s Ten New Gun Control Laws

September 4, 2013

Governor Chris Christie has signed ten bills this summer fundamentally changing gun ownership and possession in New Jersey.  The Governor has signed the following bills into law:

  • A3687: Disqualifies any individual on the federal terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms.
  • A3717: Requires the state to share information on individuals that should be prevented from owning firearms with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  • A3796: Gives individuals who possess illegal firearms 180 days to dispose of them.
  • A3788: Mandates that gun owner information is not public.
  • S2430: Establishes a Study Commission on Violence.
  • S2468: Allows police to impound a vehicle if the owner unlawfully possesses a firearm.
  • S2719: Increases penalties for gun trafficking offenses.
  • S2720: Makes information regarding the number of gun permits issued in municipalities a public record.
  • S2804: Makes it a first-degree crime to unlawfully possess firearms.  Also increases mandatory minimum sentences under the Graves Act.
  • S1279: Increases the penalties for unlawfully transferring a gun to a minor.

The bill signed into law that was most strongly opposed by gun supporters was bill A3687.  That bill prohibits persons listed on the federal terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.  Second Amendment groups have criticized the watch list for its secrecy: the list is not public and there is no mechanism for petitioning to have a name removed from the list.  Opponents argue that this law can arbitrarily deny second amendment rights to individuals.

With respect to the three most controversial bills however, Governor Christie, refused to sign them.  Christie vetoed bill A3659, which sought to ban the .50 caliber rifle, which has been described as the most powerful weapon available to civilians.  Additionally, Christie conditionally vetoed bill S272, encodes gun permits on driver’s licenses, creates a system for instant background checks, and requires individuals to complete a gun safety and training course.  Moreover, Christie also conditionally vetoed bill A3797, a controversial bill required state police to report law enforcement data in violation of federal law.

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