The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
For New Jersey residents, if West New York Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez has her way, the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms would be subject to psychological testing to determine if the prospective gun purchaser is mentally competent enough to own a firearm.
“This bill [A-3676] would require individuals who want to purchase a gun in New Jersey to undergo a psychological evaluation similar to what our police officers must go through,” said Jimenez in a press release.
“Too many lives have been senselessly lost,” she added. “This bill adds a layer of protection to the process to help keep guns away from people who have no business carrying them.”
If that wasn’t invasive enough, the bill would also mandate that gun buyers open up their homes to the state for “on-site inspection and evaluation of the household” to show the authorities how one plans on stowing his/her firearm.
From the press release:
Under the bill (A-3676), the state police superintendent would be responsible for issuing guidelines concerning the content of the psychological examination, the qualifications necessary to administer the psychological examination, maintaining confidentiality of the subject of the examination, compliance with federal law and any other guideline the superintendent deems necessary.
The bill would also require applicants to have an on-site inspection and evaluation of the household where the firearm will be located. The purpose of the inspection and evaluation is to ensure the person meets all the qualifications to purchase a firearm.
The Garden State already has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Currently, gun owners must be in possession of a Firearms Purchaser Identification card (FID) or a Handgun Purchase Permit to keep arms (concealed carry is virtually non-existent, New Jersey is known as a ‘restrictive may issue’ state). In addition to a background check, applicants for either card must already consent to a search of their mental health records.
But, evidently, disclosing one’s mental health records doesn’t pass muster with Jimenez. One needs to undergo (and presumably pay for) a full psychological evaluation which leads one to ask the obvious question: how does Jimenez justify trouncing on the Second Amendment rights of her constituents?
“This is an attempt to protect the public from individuals who could pose a safety threat if allowed to purchase firearms. We cannot wait for the next tragedy before we become more vigilant about who we allow to carry these deadly weapons,” said Jimenez.
At the thought of that statement, one can only imagine Benjamin Franklin, who once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” rolling over in his grave.
It should be also noted that Jimenez’s bill was one of 18 pro-gun control bills that have been introduced into the Legislature this week.
Those bills include, as Conservative New Jersey.com reported:
A-3645/S-2476 Requires ammunition sales and transfers be conducted as face-to-face transactions.
A-3646/S-2474 Establishes a regulatory system to govern the sale and transfer of ammunition.
A-3653 Criminalizes purchasing or owning weapon if person has previous conviction of unlawful possession of weapon.
A-3659 Revises definition of destructive device to include certain weapons of 50 caliber or greater.
A-3664 Reduces lawful maximum capacity of certain ammunition magazines in New Jersey.
A-3666/S-2465 Prohibits mail order, Internet, telephone, and any other anonymous method of ammunition sale or transfer in New Jersey.
A-3667 Requires mental health screening by licensed professional to purchase a firearm.
A-3668/S-2467 Prohibits investment by State of pension and annuity funds in companies manufacturing, importing, and selling assault firearms for civilian use.
A-3676 Requires psychological evaluation and in-home inspection as prerequisite to purchase firearm.
A-3687 Disqualifies person named on federal Terrorist Watchlist from obtaining firearms identification card or permit to purchase handgun.
A-3688 Requires mental health evaluation and list of household members with mental illness to purchase firearm.
A-3689 Requires security guards who carry weapons to wear certain uniform, including identification card.
A-3690/S-2430 Declares violence a public health crisis, recommends expansion of mental health programs, recommends federal adoption of gun control measures, and establishes “Study Commission on Violence.”
AJR-89 Urges President and US Senate to ratify Arms Trade Treaty proposed by United Nations.
AR-133 Expresses support for creation of task force on gun control led by Vice President Biden.
S-2464 Regulates sale and transfer of rifle and shotgun ammunition.
S-2475 Reduces maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
SR-92 Urges Congress to strengthen gun control laws.
As far as New Jersey’s leadership is concerned, the gregarious governor of the Garden State, Chris Christie has only expressed a tepid interest in pursuing gun control.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, Gov. Christie said that while he’s willing to have a conversation about stricter gun laws (in particular a ban on ‘assault weapons), politicians need to take a comprehensive approach to the issue, including focusing on violent video games and mental health.
It’s unclear which of those 18 gun control measures will gain real traction in the state Legislature. While some will inevitably fall by the wayside, there’s a strong possibility that others will be given serious attention.
If you live in New Jersey, now – as in RIGHT NOW – may be a good time to start contacting your local representatives and telling them what you think about these pieces of… legislation (not my first word choice).