Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy inked a six-pack of new gun laws on Wednesday as promised while a Second Amendment group returned fire in the shape of a legal challenge.
The bills, approved by lawmakers last week, include a “red flag” seizure measure to remove guns from those believed to be threats, one to trim magazine capacity down to 10 rounds, enhanced background checks, a ban on “armor-piercing” ammo and a measure derailing prior efforts by former Gov. Chris Christie to make it easier to get a gun license.
“Today, I’m proud to sign this series of common-sense gun safety bills into law to protect our children and families from the reckless dangers of gun violence, something the federal government has failed to do on behalf of its residents,” said Murphy in a signing ceremony attended by gun control advocates and prominent state Democrats. “By setting these higher standards for gun safety, New Jersey continues to bolster its reputation as a national leader on this critical social and public health issue.”
Murphy earned the trifecta of gushing praise from all three of the big national gun control groups — Brady, Everytown, and Giffords. What he also picked up was a federal lawsuit filed by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs against the state.
The organization, the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, is challenging AB 2761, which reduces the legal maximum capacity of detachable magazines in the state from 15 to 10 rounds.
“This unconstitutional law will be ignored by criminals and madmen, and affects only law-abiding citizens,” said ANJRPC executive director Scott Bach. “It turns one million people into criminals with the stroke of a pen, limits self-defense, and takes away property lawfully acquired.”
Besides Second Amendment arguments, the lawsuit takes particular issue with the new law’s limited provision for grandfathering of devices already in circulation. Those who currently own such mags would only be able to keep them if they have a registered firearm and the magazine is permanently blocked to comply with the law. This, argues the plaintiffs, is taking property without compensation, a violation of the Fifth Amendment.
“Buy it yesterday, ban it today, go to prison tomorrow – it’s the Jersey way, and the goal of our lawsuit is to boot this law, which makes no one safer, into the trash heap of history where it belongs,” said Bach.