AP Photo/Seth Wenig

New Jersey is at it again – the liberal, Democrat-controlled State Assembly, unsatisfied with passing two massive gun control packages in as many years aimed at making the shooting sports inaccessible for the average resident, has approved four more gun control bills that the also-Democrat-controlled State Senate has refused to hear, at least for now.

Luckily for New Jersey gun owners, the state’s General Assembly is up for election this year – and changing your representative is the best way to change New Jersey’s luck with the never-ending parade of onerous and unconstitutional bills produced by these legislators.

Proposed Firearms ID Card Changes

Under the guise of “limiting the possession of illegal guns in New Jersey”, members of the New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill (A-5452) on Thursday, June 20, 2019 that would require all 1.3 million currently active cards to be renewed within 49 months from the time the bill is signed into law.

This onerous bill, which will damage law-abiding residents’ ability to pursue safe, legal and scientifically-sound traditions, was passed without any regard to the problems that it would cause for legal gun owners and the police departments that would be required to reissue these cards if it became law.

In fact – wait times in the current FID card system are already astronomical, and the further burden would not only be unfair to those processing the applications but would make felons out of anyone unlucky enough to get stuck in the red tape of State and Local Government bureaucracy. It did not get included in the recently passed package of six bills signed by Governor Murphy last week, due to being stalled in the Senate.

Proposal To Mandate Tracking/Reporting Of Ammunition Sales

This bill, A5455, would simultaneously create mandatory reporting to the State Police on handgun ammunition sales and would require sellers to make sure people purchasing handgun ammunition are 21 years old, which is the legal age for buying a handgun in New Jersey.

While this may sound “good” to the Average Joe on its surface, the sinister history of “reporting” requirements being the first stop of a slippery slope towards draconian gun control, banning and confiscation measures (Australia, anyone?) is too big to ignore.

The other problem is, again, that it doesn’t address the issue of violent crime. As we have illustrated time and again, legal gun owners who buy their ammunition in local gun shops just aren’t to blame for the murder rate in New Jersey.

Proposed Straw Purchaser Bill – Or Making Something Illegal EVEN MORE Illegal

This one is my favorite. Let’s take something that is already illegal federally (that is, around the nation) and make it even more illegal. Because that ALWAYS stops the criminals from doing it.

A5453 would do just that, though, making it a second-degree crime to act as a straw purchaser and a third-degree crime to transport, sell or possess a firearm without a federally licensed serial number.

Proposed Storage Law Changes

This bill, A3696, would require firearms to locked away in a container or box unless the firearm is “in use” or “under the owner’s control”. Neither of those terms are defined by the legislation, leaving a legal grey area around storage and possession of a firearm inside your own home. Vague language like this has been favored by gun control advocates ever since the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s storage requirement in the Heller case in 2008.

New Jersey Guns By The Numbers

I had the pleasure of joining Fox and Friends host Ainsley Earhardt about this issue back in April, and what I said then remains true now – this is nothing more than a transparent attempt to scapegoat and bully law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen in the state under shaky-at-best logic.

By rushing to pass legislation without first correctly identifying the problems at hand they will do nothing to reduce the murder rate in New Jersey. For one thing, the Purchasers ID Card is used to purchase long guns, shotguns and rifles only. However, the firearm of choice to commit murder in New Jersey is overwhelmingly the handgun. This might lead one to believe that perhaps more onerous restrictions on handguns would help the problem – but that’s not true either. In fact, the yearly average homicide rate with handguns from 2000 to 2008 was 220 per year.

Since the passage of the one-handgun-a-month bill in 2009 (much more restrictive than buying a long gun in NJ and a favorite talking point of the liberal gun grabbers) the yearly average for 2010 to 2015 has actually gone up to 261.5/year. But that doesn’t tell the whole story either, because the guns that ARE used in crimes largely don’t come from New Jersey. In fact – over a ten-year period, 2009 through 2016, over 69% of all murders involved a handgun, of which over 87% were shown to have entered New Jersey from other states.

New Jersey gun owners need to make their stand here and demand logic and common sense rather than catering to big money anti-gun billionaires like Bloomberg – and the only way we’ll do that is by supporting pro-gun legislators and educating our neighbors on the truth about guns.

About the Author

Cody McLaughlin is a vocal activist, noted conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He is a contributor for the NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum and a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, representing the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena. You can find him on twitter at @mclaugh19