(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Annette Quijano, Gordon Johnson, Jamel Holley and Paul Moriarty sponsored to limit gun magazine capacity to ten rounds was advanced Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“Our nation is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “Now, as we enter a new term with a new governor, we have a real chance to pursue legislation to reduce the number of deaths by gun violence and protect our neighborhoods.”
California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia all have 10-round limits on ammunition magazines for use with any firearm.
“The data show that a 10-round limit will reduce high-capacity magazines in the hands of criminals, and the time it takes to reload can help people escape or subdue the gunman, as happened in the Gabby Giffords shooting in Tuscan,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Moreover, these limits can save the lives of innocent victims and law enforcement officers confronted by criminals or unstable individuals.”
“During the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona, witnesses were able to subdue the gunman when he paused to reload,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Anything we can do make it more difficult to fire dozens of bullets in a short period of time is a good thing. This is a highly effective step we can take to save lives.”
“Law enforcement leaders from across the country have supported 10-round limits on magazine capacity,” said Holley (D-Union). “If law enforcement backs it, and it can improve public safety and save lives, then we should do it. This is common sense gun safety.”
“This is quite simple – it can and will save lives,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “If we can do something reasonable that can save lives, then we should do it.”
Greenwald met with the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013 after their devastating losses. That year he introduced many gun safety bills, including lowering gun magazine capacity. It was vetoed by then-Gov. Chris Christie.
The bill (A-2761) bans firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Magazines capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition currently are legal in New Jersey.
The bill also designates a semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds as a prohibited assault firearm.
The bill makes its provisions effective immediately, but allows for a 180-day grace period to transfer, render inoperable, or voluntarily surrender a semi-automatic rifle or magazine that will be unlawful under the bill.
Large capacity magazines under the control of a federal license holder that have been reconfigured to fire blank ammunition for motion pictures, television, and video productions are exempt from the bill.
“Meeting the families of Sandy Hook was one of the most moving experiences of my 22 years of public service,” Greenwald said. “For these families, the single most important piece of legislation we could fight for is lowering magazine capacity. I refuse to let these families down, to look them in the eyes and tell them we are powerless – that their loved ones were a tragic but necessary, loss. No loss to gun violence is ever necessary.”