New Jersey Legislators Seek to Tighten State’s Gun Laws

The New Jersey legislature’s Judiciary Committee advanced a slew of measures at the end of February aimed at placing further restrictions on the ability of residents of the state to obtain concealed carry licenses and purchase large-capacity magazines, among other things.  These restrictions, which were initiated prior to the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Florida but passed in their wake, are designed with an eye to reducing future violence.  However, many gun rights advocates believe that these laws will place more unreasonable restrictions on lawful gun owners who abide by the laws.

The proposed restrictions include limiting magazines for all weapons (except .22 caliber rifles) to ten rounds, requiring background checks for private gun sales, and requiring individuals to show a “justifiable need” in order to obtain a carry permit.

“Gun owners recognize the need for certain regulatory laws, however these laws are complicated, overly burdensome for law abiding citizens, and disarm law abiding citizens seeking a carry permit to protect themselves and their families. Because the gun laws of this state weave such a complicated web, ordinarily law abiding folks risk accidentally running afoul of these laws, and are subject to very harsh punishment,” said John B. Fabriele, III, a New Jersey Gun Crimes Attorney.

One of the proposed laws requires any gun owner who is in possession of a magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds to relinquish control of that magazine – turning it in to law enforcement – within 180 days of the law’s passage.  Failure to do so could subject the individual to criminal prosecution.

Another law requires anyone seeking to transfer a firearm via sale to use a licensed gun retailer to facilitate the transaction.  This allows a background check can be performed prior to the transfer, but it eliminates the ability of private owners of firearms to legally sell their weapons to other private individuals without a third party’s involvement.  The law also allows the retailer to charge a fee for the service, increasing the cost of the transaction, and imposes criminal liability when the law is not followed.

One of the other restrictions on gun owners being proposed requires anyone seeking to obtain a permit to carry a firearm to show a “justifiable need” for the permit.  Currently, New Jersey’s gun permit laws are considered “may issue”, meaning that if an individual applies for a permit and meets the requirements, the permit may be issued.  This “justifiable need” standard adds a subjective standard to the law that greatly curtails the rights of law-abiding individuals to obtain carry permits.

These laws will impose a much greater responsibility upon law-abiding gun owners and create much more legal exposure for them.  If you are a gun owner with questions about how these laws may impact you, speak with an experienced New Jersey Gun Crimes attorney for guidance.

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