With a shaky political mandate, the “lame duck” session of the New Jersey legislature is wasting no time passing an eight-pack of anti-gun measures. 

On Monday, the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee approved eight bills addressing guns and ammunition, over the howls of the two Republicans on the panel. Advertised by the Committee's Dems as measures to "enhance gun safety," the following proposals were advanced: 

  • A.1280/S.103 bans .50 caliber firearms 
  • A.1292/S.1481 requires registration of handgun ammunition and develops a statewide electronic system to track sales.
  • A.3686/S.372 requires new residents to register firearms brought into the state. 
  • A.5030/S.2169 requires mandatory training to get a firearms card that must be redone every four years.
  • A.5647/S.3757 requires mandatory storage of firearms, regardless of self-defense concerns
  • A.5787/S.3826 requires all new handguns to be equipped with microstamping, a controversial practice considered by many to be a slow-motion ban on new pistols. 
  • A.6218 allows the Attorney General to sue the firearms industry for "public nuisance violations" over the sale or marketing of firearms.
  • AR277 supports the Governor's call to reconvene the "States for Gun Safety" summit to explore new gun control

"It is clear that we can be doing more to keep families safe,” said state Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), a sponsor of the mandatory gun lock bill. "When it comes to gun safety, there are many points where we can step in before a tragedy happens." 

Houghtaling, 67, lost his re-election bid last month, unseated after five years in the Assembly by a Republican challenger, one of seven such seats flipped by the GOP in what was described as the Republicans' most successful legislative election in three decades. Importantly, Republican candidate Ed Durr, a truck driver running on a shoe-string campaign after he was not allowed a gun permit under the state's restrictive "may issue" system, bested powerful State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a labor union official who has been in the Assembly for almost 20 years.

However, the new wave of lawmakers won't be seated until January 2022, meaning the current crop is mobilizing to wring the most possible out of the last few days of this year's session. 

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who narrowly won reelection over Republican Jack Ciattarelli last month, has been pushing the gun control effort this month.

“Over the past four years, New Jersey has become a national leader on gun safety,” said Murphy on Dec. 2. “We must continue to build on that progress and make our state safer for the over nine million people who call New Jersey home. Today, I am proud to further commit to this goal, and I hope to work with my Legislative partners to take this step by the end of this legislative session."

The gun measures are also supported by big dollar anti-gun groups. 

“At the heart of all the bills that we’re talking about today is responsible gun ownership,” said Lorraine Lombardi, a volunteer for the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of billionaire Michael Bloomberg's Everytown umbrella group. “And we feel that that is the key to safe communities.”

Everytown endorsed Murphy for reelection this year, a repeat of their support in 2017. 

Meanwhile, Second Amendment groups are crying foul. 

"These hastily and poorly written bills will do nothing to prevent crime and everything to inhibit New Jersey residents’ constitutional right to self-defense," said the NRA-ILA in a statement on the legislation. "New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and rather than crackdown on criminals, the Majority party is fixated on targeting the state’s law-abiding gun owners."

The package of bills now moves to the full Assembly for consideration, which could take place as soon as Dec. 20.

Banner image: An FN 502 Tactical rimfire pistol with assorted .22LR ammo. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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