New Jersey legislators seek to strengthen ineffectual gun laws

May 30, 2019


Matthew Hoy

A handful of Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly are proposing a battery of new, ineffectual gun laws that will continue to encumber law-abiding gun owners, but do little to halt that state's rising crime problem.

Building upon the momentum set by the Legislature with the passage of several bills aimed at stemming gun violence in New Jersey communities, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Yvonne Lopez and Gordon Johnson recently introduced a four-bill package to address the sale and transfer of firearms, straw purchasing, and gun trafficking in the state.

Gun control is always just one more bill away from succeeding, yet always fails.

"The events which took place over the weekend in Trenton were devastating. Unfortunately, they highlight the need for stronger gun safety regulations in order to keep illegal firearms off our streets and stronger protections for our communities,” said Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington). “Since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, we have revised our laws in New Jersey, restricting large capacity weapons and ghost guns from getting into the wrong hands, to reduce the scourge of gun violence plaguing our cities. To address the mental health aspect of gun violence, we engaged our community and hospital partners to help victims and their families work through their trauma and break the cycle of violence. These new bills will ensure that law enforcement, state entities, and gun store owners will work together to reduce gun crimes and gun trafficking in our communities.”

Sandy Hook occurred in 2012. In the seven years since, they've passed all these laws, to no avail.

So, let's pass some more.

The four-part legislative package includes the following bills:

  • A-5455 Requires ammunition sales to be reported and mandates development of an electronic system for firearm information. (Greenwald, Johnson, Reynolds Jackson)

Like we have here in California, yet its effect on crime is negligible.

  • A-5454 Criminalizes the purchase, transfer, or possession of certain weapons and ammunition by persons convicted of certain crimes. The bill adds to the current list of crimes barring an individual from owning a firearm or ammunition and establishes a 3rddegree crime of transporting, shipping, selling, disposing of or possession a firearm without a federally licensed and registered serial number.  (Greenwald, Reynolds Jackson)

So, more 2nd Amendment disqualifying offenses that may or may not be linked in any way to crimes of violence. It's is unclear what a "federally licensed and registered serial number" might be. Is this a provision aimed at so-called ghost guns, or is it a case of lawmakers not knowing squat about firearms and current law?

  • A-5453 Establishes criminal penalties for the possession and transfer of firearms and ammunition to a person disqualified to own a firearm or permit under state law. (Lopez, Greenwald, Johnson)

This is already illegal under federal law, it beggars belief that 'A-' rated New Jersey doesn't already have similar state laws on the books.

  • A-5452 Provides that firearms purchasing identification is valid for four years, requires training prior to I.D. and handgun purchase permits, and revises procedures for passing of firearms to an heir. (Reynolds Jackson, Johnson, Greenwald) 

One again, the law-abiding are targeted. The gangbangers who did a drive-by shooting last weekend in Trenton aren't going to be getting a firearms purchasing ID, nor will they undergo the training. The poor, who live in the most dangerous neighborhoods and need protection the most, get priced out of their 2nd Amendment rights by requiring formal training that can be cost-prohibitive.

Then there's this beauty comment by Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson:

"More than a thousand New Jersey residents are shot every year," said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson. "By requiring gun owners to have firearm IDs, we will be able to find out how these guns are getting into the hands of criminals by tracking each gun and all ammo to the point of sale."

How is all ammo going to be able to be tracked to the point of sale? Does the assemblywoman think that there are serial numbers on cartridge casings?

Criminals, by definition, don't follow the laws and are unaffected by this type of legislation. These gun control efforts make it more troublesome and expensive for the law-abiding.

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