BREAKING: New Jersey Senate passes eight gun control bills

New Jersey lawmakers passed eight gun control bills this afternoon, including the “centerpiece” of the proposals, which would change the gun buying process in the Garden State.

The centerpiece bill, S2723, introduced by New Jersey’s Senate President Stephen Sweeney, is an arduous 40 pages long and details the process in which a gun can be bought or sold. Sweeney described his baby as the “national model” for gun laws.

The bill will overhaul New Jersey’s current process dictating how a gun is sold, most notably by revising New Jersey’s firearm ID card system.

The new system will merge the firearm ID with a state issued driver’s license, meaning instead of issuing two different IDs, the firearm purchase permit information will be embedded on the driver’s license. And the purchase permit will last four years instead of 90 days.

According to the bill, the data collected for issuing a firearms permit and a driver’s license will be “distinct and separate entities” and will also be housed separately, in other words the data will not be consolidated.

The bill will also create a state instant background check system, require gun buyers to demonstrate that they have completed a gun safety training course, impose a seven-day waiting period after a gun purchase, and stiffen the penalties for letting guns slip into the hands of minors.

Lastly, the bill will only allow licensed dealers sell or transfer ammo and in addition to that the sellers will be required to keep detailed documentation on the buyer and product. Information like name, address, job description, caliber and numerical amount of ammo sold, etc.

The bill now moves to the state assembly and if passed will then go to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

Along with the centerpiece bill, the Senate passed seven other gun control measures as well. Three of which, bills A3717, A3668 and A3687, go straight to the governor’s desk.

The first, bill A3717, passed with without a hitch at 38-0, and requires the state to submit certain mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.  

Second, bill A3668 passed 23-17, and will prohibit state pensions from investing in companies that make or sell what the state defines as “assault rifles” for civilian use, but those same pensions can still invest in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault rifles for the exclusive use by military organizations or law enforcement.   

Lastly, bill A3687 passed 35-0, and will disqualify anyone whose name is on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from obtaining a New Jersey firearm ID card or permit to purchase a handgun. This expands New Jersey’s current law that denies a permit to a person who is considered a danger to “public health, safety or welfare.”

Other proposals that passed today would redefine a “destructive device” and ban .50-caliber weapons and/or anything larger, upgrade the penalty for criminals caught with guns to a first-degree crime, require criminals who are caught with a firearm to post full cash bail, and increase the statute of limitations for gun thefts from 5 years to 10 years. Like the centerpiece bill, these all now move forward to the general assembly and if passed there will go to the governor’s desk.

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