N.J. Senate Bill 993, sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg, District 37 (Bergen) and Nia H. Gill, District 34 (Essex and Passaic), accompanying Assembly Bill A2006, which was passed last Thursday, was scheduled to be heard in committee yesterday, although the NRA-ILA website noted that Bill S993 would not be on the agenda. If passed, the law would ban ammunition magazines over 10 rounds (A2006). The law would also 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.
A full N.J. Senate vote on S993 is scheduled for Thurs., March 27. If the bill passes both the Senate and the Assembly, it will be sent to Gov. Christie’s desk that same day.
Last Thursday, the N.J. Assembly passed Bill A2006. The bill was approved by a 5-3 vote along party lines after a three-hour-long hearing. The hearing included testimony by 9-year-old Shyanne Roberts, a fourth -grade pupil from Franklin Township in Gloucester County and gun owner who participates in shooting competitions.
Roberts — who was accompanied by her father, Dan, a gun rights activist — said a Glock she owns, along with a custom-built AR-15 she’s expected to receive soon from a sponsor, would be made “worthless” under the bill because they have 15-round magazines.
A2006 would make the following change to existing law: “’Assault Firearm’ means… A semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds.” 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.
What average citizens don’t realize is that rifles have tubular magazines built into the guns. They aren’t “changed” the way popular movies depict magazines. Cutting the number of bullets in the magazine from 15 to 10 will make most rifles and some handguns obsolete, along with our Second Amendment rights.
Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), the bill’s sponsor, said that gunmen in several recent mass shootings had used high-capacity magazines, and were only disarmed when they needed to reload.
“We see time and time again in the news. It is when the individual goes to reload their magazine clip, brave individuals are able to step up and apprehend those individuals,” Greenwald said. “In Sandy Hook, children were able to flee and escape.”
According to the N.J. Star-Ledger, “Greenwald’s testimony was punctuated with shouts of “time’s up” from the crowd. Bryan Miller, executive director of the anti-gun violence group Heeding God’s Call, said he doubted Roberts’ guns could not be fitted with 10-round magazines, and called the testimony a ‘set-up’ by her father.
“Max McGuire, a political science graduate student at Villanova University and Cranbury resident, said attempting to stop mass shooters with the law would be ‘like lowering the speed limit to stop drag racers.’
“’You cannot do this. This is my property. This is stuff that I bought legally, and I committed no crime,’ McGuire said.
“But those who supported the bill noted that the federal assault rifle ban that expired in 2004 had limited magazine size to 10.
“’This is not new,’” said Kristen Wald, a member of the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. ‘…I cannot add testimony that is more clear than the example of 11 children being able to escape the Sandy Hook perpetrator as he scrambled to replace a magazine.’
“The panel amended the 2004 bill to exempt certain .22 caliber rifles, often used by Boy Scouts.
The panel also approved a measure that was intended as an olive branch for gun-rights supporters, but did nothing to assuage them. The bill (A2777) allowed drivers transporting guns between home and a range or hunting grounds to make ‘deviations as are reasonably necessary,’ meaning ‘purchasing fuel, using a restroom, and contending with an emergency situation.’
“Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, said current law gives judges more discretion than the bill would, and urged the committee to broaden the language by adding the word ‘including’ before specifically outlining the permitted deviations.
Yet according to the NRA-ILA (the lobbying arm of the NRA) website, back in January of this year, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang, of the Northern District of Illinois (an Obama administration appointment), ruled the city’s ban on firearm sales and transfers within the city was unconstitutional. The suit was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three individuals, with the backing of NRA.
“The Chicago transfer ban was part of a series of ordinances the city hastily enacted after its total ban on handgun possession was invalidated by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 opinion in McDonald v. Chicago. Chicago’s crusade to be the nation’s most oppressive jurisdiction for gun owners has yielded other important victories for the Second Amendment. These included the Seventh Circuit’s holding in 2011’s Ezell v. Chicago that Chicago’s ban on discharge (notwithstanding its requirement that residents obtain live-fire training as a condition of owning a gun in the city) was unconstitutional.
“Other aspects of the city’s wide-ranging gun control regime have been whittled down in response to litigation and the broad preemption provisions of Illinois’ recently-enacted Firearm Concealed Carry Act (the result of yet another successful Second Amendment case in the Seventh Circuit, 2011’s Shepard v. Madigan). The transfer ban remained, however, a symbol of the same political denial and impudence that have ironically helped move the Second Amendment needle in the right direction through litigation time and again.”
The Star Ledger story also noted, “The bill (A2006), which was approved by a 5-3 vote along party lines after a three-hour-long hearing, was sought by gun-control advocates and family members of some of the 20 elementary school children killed at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
“Other gun-rights supporters said the bill would do nothing but make them less able to fend off criminals and force them to give up or sell out-of-state expensive firearms that would suddenly be illegal. Several warned they would not comply with the bill if it became law.
“The measure has the support of Senate and Assembly leaders, but the question is what Gov. Chris Christie will do when it reaches his desk. Last year, Christie signed several minor gun-related bills, but vetoed those most sought by gun-control advocates, including a ban on .50 caliber rifles that he had called for months earlier.
“Asked about New Jersey’s gun laws at a town hall meeting in Mount Laurel, Christie didn’t say what he would do about new proposals, though he did take the opportunity to note that he had vetoed more bills than any governor since at least 1947.
“I have worked and trained very hard to get to the level I am at, and if A2006 becomes law, I will be forced to choose between giving up on a very bright and promising future in a sport that I love, or asking my dad if we can move to another state,” Shyanne Roberts said.
“Everyone is upset about bad people doing bad things to others. But punishing the people who didn’t do anything wrong is not the way to stop bad people.”
Democrat and Liberal Republicans found a magic bullet in their attempts to ban all guns, or otherwise deprive citizens of their right to bear arms in the Newtown shooting. Sensationalizing and exploiting the tragedy, they noted with grim satisfaction that Adam Lanza’s mother was an NRA member. She gave her 20 year-old son guns and shooting lessons, even though it was known that he had severe mental and emotional problems.
It was the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in American history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, and the second-deadliest mass murder at a U.S. elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan.
Eighty-five years. That was the last time so many schoolchildren were murdered in the United States (with the exception of Virginia Tech, whose victims were not children; but no matter that). There was the Aurora, Co., theater shooting. Oh but, wait – Colorado is a gun control state. The shooters weapons were illegally obtained.
These shootings were horrible events. But in every case, there is one overlooked element, thanks to the Media’s own fanatical obsession with guns – mental illness. There have also been workplace shootings. But these usually only involved a spouse or lover, or a supervisor and the shooter.
We should be more afraid of our government and the bureaucracy it has built up around itself.
Let us hope that the NRA-ILA is correct and that the committee hearing for S.993 scheduled for yesterday has not yet been rescheduled. Let us not be put off or confused. Lawmakers are moving quickly to push this anti-gun legislation and send it to Governor Chris Christie. Please contact your state Senator TODAY and respectfully urge him or her to OPPOSE S.993. Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.