New Jersey has recently been under some investigation. One of my colleagues over at the Second Amendment Foundation’s (SAF) investigative journalism branch, Lee Williams, reported about a gross misuse of the Office of Attorney General (OAG). In his piece Williams points towards New Jersey attacking a company that is based in Florida over alleged shipments and sales of so-called “high capacity” magazines to buyers in New Jersey. The whole situation stinks of targeted and purposeful entrapment. From the report:
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is using “undercover” detectives to entrap firearms retailers and manufacturers – especially those in other states – in the hopes that the exorbitant fees and penalties he will extort from them will force the owners out of business.
This is a new kind of gun control.
So far, AG Grewal has targeted retailers who sell firearm components designed for home-builds and, of course, those who sells standard-capacity magazines.
Even the judges are in on the AG’s scheme. A New Jersey state court recently ordered a Florida firm to pay the state $150,000.
Their crime? They refused to turn over their customers’ names and addresses to the Attorney General.
The civil complaint authored by Isabella R. Pitt, Deputy Attorney General can be read in full HERE. What gives? Williams points out some interesting stage setting that the OAG does in the complaint, doing a bit of state-trotting that would make for a good country rock song:
The complaint begins in El Paso, where the author describes a mass murder committed by an AK-47 and “extra magazines capable of holding at least 30 rounds of ammunition each.” The he carts the reader off the Dayton, Ohio, and describes “a shooter equipped with an AR-15 style rifle, a 100-round drum magazine, and 250 rounds of ammunition.” Then it’s Parkland, Florida’s turn, followed by Tucson, Arizona and then, finally, New Jersey, where the author defines “Large Capacity Magazine.”
None of what Williams uncovered really shocked me. New Jersey is known for being very anti-civil rights and no friend to gun owners. Having a legal representative of the state lean on emotional non-sequiturs in their filing does not surprise me one bit. However, what did really pique my interest was a line taken right out of the complaint. I think It’s important to zoom in on this element, as this is a complaint from the New Jersey Office of Attorney General (read “smart”, “educated”, “learned” etc.). I went to the complaint to extract this information, and the quote Williams provided came directly from the “Preliminary Statement”:
To prevent gun violence, and to mitigate the risk of mass shootings, the State of New Jersey (“New. Jersey”) has long banned possession of large capacity ammunition magazines (“LCMs”) — firearm magazines capable of holding more than the standard number of rounds provided by the manufacturer.
Williams even comments on this definition:
You’ll notice that New Jersey’s LCM definition is flawed on its face. AR manufacturers designed 20- and 30-round magazines for the rifle – that’s the “standard number of rounds provided by the manufacturer.”
This statement from the complaint jumped out at me as incredibly shocking. Why? Because of the statutory definition for “large capacity ammunition magazines” in New Jersey:
“Large capacity ammunition magazine” means a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm. The term shall not include an attached tubular device which is capable of holding only .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
The law came into effect in 2018 under the Murphy administration. Prior to the ten round magazine capacity limitation, New Jersey had a 15 round magazine capacity limit. So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s office is using fancy wording and footwork in their complaint which does not even come close to represent the laws that are on the books in the Garden State. Is Ms. Pitt just so obtuse and ignorant of the law that this was an oversight? Or are they playing games?
What I would like to do is educate the New Jersey Office of Attorney General a little on their statement: “more than the standard number of rounds provided by the manufacturer”. Regardless of there being any intent to their ignorant definition in the complaint, I think it is important to note the following firearm makes and models, and their “standard capacity” magazines:
Beretta 92 FS comes standard with a 15 round magazine.
Glock 17 comes standard with a 17 round magazine.
Glock 19 comes standard with a 15 round magazine.
The list can go on and on. I point specifically to those makes and models as several police departments in New Jersey (and elsewhere worldwide) use them as their service firearms. Naturally in New Jersey the police are not held the to the same standard that the peasants are, and their “standard” capacity is not the ten rounds we’ve been “granted” by His Highness Phil Murphy.
So which one is it? Is it the statute of ten rounds? Or are we allowed to have what comes standard with our firearms…the fancy word games (or gross ignorance) that the AG is using in his complaint against a little mom and pop shop? A million New Jersey gun owners would love to know, especially since the makes and models that I listed are not only popular with police (and military) departments but also in wide use by civilians. As much as I’d love an answer from Ms. PItt or AG Grewal, I doubt I’ll get one. Whether they are just dumb or playing games, they are ripe to be called out on both accounts. A classic case of wanting to eat their cake and have it too!
New Jersey, well, we’ll be seeing you at the Supreme Court hopefully over this magazine debacle. The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs did after all file for certiorari with the high court over what you call high capacity magazines in statute.
Williams and his work needs to be applauded over at the SAF and I look forward to what else he’s going to uncover in the days to come. If you’d like to watch a great interview with Lee discussing the piece I’m talking about, check out the SAF’s Daily Bullet with Paul Lathrop from earlier this week.