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New Jersey Implements Even More Gun Control

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Last Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed six new gun control measures into effect. This comes as little surprise given Governor Murphy's strong anti-gun position.

New Jersey codified the regulations to acquire a permit to carry a handgun. “Each application form shall be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which shall be under oath and, in the case of a private citizen, shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.”

It is fairly common knowledge amongst gun owners in the Mid-Atlantic that it's close to impossible to obtain a carry permit in New Jersey. However, under the Chris Christie administration, the regulations were “loosened” to allow more individuals to obtain a carry permit. That move allowed people who could show a serious threat against them (generally speaking) the ability to obtain a permit, rather than restricting permits to only those who could document a specific threat. This law undoes that regulatory change.

Carry permits were not the only thing subject to the fury of Governor Murphy's pen. The state has lowered its magazine capacity limits from fifteen rounds to ten rounds. Unsurprisingly, there is an exception for law enforcement and even retired law enforcement to continue to possess their fifteen round magazines. There is also an exemption for .22lr firearms with tubular magazines. From the bill's synopsis “In addition, the bill exempts from the 10 round limitation those semi-automatic rifles which have an attached tubular magazine and which is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.  This exemption would permit the sale and possession of a popular beginner gun, the Marlin Model 60, often referred to as the ‘Boy Scout gun.'  These firearms are low caliber and the tubular magazine cannot be quickly reloaded.” The law requires citizens to transfer the newly banned magazines to someone who is lawfully able to possess them, render them inoperable or surrender them.

Continuing its race to the bottom, New Jersey banned the possession of armor piercing ammunition. Apparently, as the bill's synopsis claims, “Police officers have encountered a new and highly destructive bullet. The SS190AP ammunition…” The person who wrote the bill might want to reconsider what they consider to be “new” as SS190 has been available for about a quarter of a century. The round was designed in 1992 and has been available since 1993.

The bill specifically bans a person from possessing “handgun ammunition which has a full metal jacket and an ogive with a steel penetrator tip followed by an aluminum core and is therefore capable of breaching or penetrating body armor.” So it would seem that ammunition with a steel penetrator tip followed by a lead core would be exempt from this prohibition. But that remains to be seen.

Consistent with a growing trend, New Jersey enacted a “red flag” law. Proponents of the law claim it is to safeguard society by denying an individual who may be a threat to themselves or others access to firearms. The law allows for individuals to have their firearms taken from them without having a hearing first. Procedurally, New Jersey is similar to other states where a petition is filed with the court without the person who would be subject to it being present. The Court may then issue an order allowing for the firearms to be seized and prohibit the person subject to the order from possessing or obtaining firearms and ammunition. A hearing must be held within 14 days and if the court determines the order should stay in effect, it can last up to one year before having to be renewed. Among the criteria to be considered in the issuance of an order under this law is whether the person recently obtained firearms. Apparently exercising your Second Amendment right is now a cause for concern.

The state also created a provision which would allow for firearms to be seized from individuals reported by their mental health professional. The law has imposed a duty upon mental health professionals to notify the police when they believe an individual is a threat to themselves or others. The police must then determine if the person was issued a firearms purchaser identification card and allows for it to become voided if certain criteria are met. It also allows police to seize firearms that the person may have access to. Once again, lawmakers have found a way to discourage people from seeking help for problems they may be having.

New Jersey has also implemented universal background checks. It will now require all firearm transfers, save for a few limited exceptions, to be done through an FFL. Those exceptions include immediate family, holders of a Curio and Relic FFL, and law enforcement.

Governor Murphy has only been in office for six months and is wasting no time signing more anti-gun laws into effect. Time will tell whether this is the end or just the beginning. For those of you in New Jersey, make sure you check out Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs to find out how you can get involved in the fight for your rights.




Adam Kraut is a firearms law attorney practicing in southeastern PA and across the country federally. He hosts The Legal Brief, a show dedicated to crushing the various myths and misinformation around various areas of the gun world and The Gun Collective Podcast. He was also the general manager of a gun store in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Instagram: @theadamkraut
Twitter: @theadamkraut


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