The state of New Jersey, which is known for its strict gun laws, has tightened regulations with new legislation that gives citizens 180 days to surrender all firearms and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds —and if they are caught with the newly illegal contraband, they will be treated as criminals.
The new rules are courtesy of Assembly Bill 2761, which was recently passed by the state. The bill’s purpose is to reduce “maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds,” and the text states that citizens will have 180 days to comply:
“A person who legally owns a semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds or a large capacity ammunition magazine… which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition… may retain possession of that rifle or magazine for a period not to exceed 180 days after the effective date of this act.”
During the 180-day period, the bill states that citizens can get rid of their firearms and magazines by:
- Transfer the semi-automatic rifle or magazine to any person or firm lawfully entitled to own or possess that firearm or magazine;
- Render the semi-automatic rifle or magazine inoperable or permanently modify a large capacity ammunition magazine to accept 10 rounds or less;
- Voluntarily surrender the semi-automatic rifle or magazine
The bill also includes a detailed process for citizens who choose to “voluntarily surrender” their newly illegal firearms and magazines to police. It states that in order to surrender the weapons without being convicted of a crime, the citizens must give written notice, which includes “the proposed date and time of surrender,” and the weapons must be given to the superintendent or the chief of police in the municipality in which the individual lives.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs is fighting back against the legislation by filing a motion in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey to block enforcement of the law, on the basis that it violates the Second Amendment.
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Scott Bach, the group’s executive director, told the Washington Free Beacon that they are fighting back against the new law because they believe it will be “ignored by criminals and madmen,” and will only affect the law-abiding gun owners who are turned into criminals because of its existence.
“It turns one million people into criminals with the stroke of a pen, limits self-defense, and takes away property lawfully acquired. Buy it yesterday, ban it today, go to prison tomorrow—it's the Jersey way, and the goal of our lawsuit is to boot this law, which makes no one safer, into the trash heap of history where it belongs," Bach said.
Those who choose to protect themselves and their families and resist this legislation by holding on to their weapons will be charged with a 4th degree felony and face up to 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
This legislation is just one of several bills that have been passed in New Jersey recently, with the purpose of increasing gun restrictions in a state that is already known for its strict gun laws. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bills into law earlier this month, which are all targeted at increasing gun control by expanding background checks, adding increased restrictions to concealed carry permits, and establishing a “red flag” system where individuals can report people who they believe are dangerous, and those suspects will have their firearms temporarily seized by police.
Assembly Bill 1217 authorizes “gun violence restraining orders” and firearm seizure warrants; Assembly Bill 1181 requires firearms seizure when mental health professionals determines a patient poses a threat of harm to himself or others; Assembly Bill 2757 requires background check for private gun sales; Assembly Bill 2758 codifies and restricts regulations defining justifiable need to carry handgun; and Assembly Bill 2759 prohibits possession of ammunition that qualifies as “capable of penetrating body armor.”
Yet even with the current gun regulations in place, a convicted felon who spent years in prison on aggravated manslaughter charges was able to access a handgun, which he used to unleash a hail of bullets on a crowd at an arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey, last week, and 22 people were injured as a result. Everything he did to obtain the gun and open fire was illegal—none of the laws stopped him.
When strict control gun control laws are enforced, it is not the criminals who suffer, but the law-abiding citizens who own guns for the purpose of protecting themselves and their families, and the new gun restrictions in New Jersey set a dangerous precedent that could serve as a blueprint for other states to follow.