Gun owners in NJ subject to new magazine ban starting Monday

A ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges is set to take effect in the Garden State this week.

Enacted in June by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy after a multi-year push by state lawmakers, the new law reduces the legal maximum capacity of detachable magazines in the state from 15 to 10 rounds. Second Amendment advocates filed an immediate legal challenge to the ban, set to take effect in Dec. 10, but last week lost their challenge in the 3rd U.S. Circuit after a three-judge panel sided with the state.

“New Jersey’s law reasonably fits the state’s interest in public safety and does not unconstitutionally burden the Second Amendment’s right to self-defense in the home,” said Judge Patty Shwartz, a 2013 nomination by President Obama, for the majority. She was joined in her ruling by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr, a 1996 appointment to the federal bench by President Clinton.

Judge Stephanos Bibas, a 2017 appointment from President Trump, wrote a stinging dissent, saying, “The government has offered no concrete evidence that magazine restrictions have saved or will save potential victims.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal characterized the ruling as a “Big win for public safety and law enforcement safety!” that upheld what he labeled a sensible law. Those found guilty of possession of a banned magazine could face as much as 18 months in prison, a fine of $10,000 per mag, and a conviction that could result in a lifetime nationwide firearms ban.

The law, which exempts military and police under some circumstances, has drawn fire from national and state gun rights groups including the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, who are backing the lawsuit.

“The mag ban lawsuit will continue after the deadline, and we believe it will eventually prevail, but gun owners face serious criminal penalties if they do not comply with the mag ban by December 10, 2018,” warns the ANJRPC in an alert. The group has released a four-page guide explaining how to comply with the current law, which requires subject magazines to be surrendered, rendered inoperable, permanently modified to accept no more than 10 rounds, sold, transferred, or stored out of state.

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