ASSEMBLY, No. 1398

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL

District 25 (Morris)

Assemblyman  GARY R. CHIUSANO

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman McHose

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Mandates NICS check be the exclusive method law enforcement uses to determine whether an applicant is qualified to purchase and possess a firearm.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning firearms and amending N.J.S.2C:58-3.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:58-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:58-3. Purchase of Firearms.

     a.     Permit to purchase a handgun.  No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of, nor receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or has first secured a permit to purchase a handgun as provided by this section.

     b.    Firearms purchaser identification card.  No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of nor receive, purchase or otherwise acquire an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun, other than an antique rifle or shotgun, unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, and first exhibits said card to the seller, donor, transferor or assignor, and unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder signs a written certification, on a form prescribed by the superintendent, which shall indicate that he presently complies with the requirements of subsection c. of this section and shall contain his name, address and firearms purchaser identification card number or dealer's registration number.  The said certification shall be retained by the seller, as provided in section 2C:58-2a., or, in the case of a person who is not a dealer, it may be filed with the chief of police of the municipality in which he resides or with the superintendent.

     c.     Who may obtain.  No person of good character and good repute in the community in which he lives, and who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this section or other sections of this chapter, shall be denied a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card, except as hereinafter set forth.  No handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued:

     (1)   To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261(C.2C:25-19), whether or not armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of such offense;

     (2)   To any drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2), to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently an habitual drunkard;

     (3)   To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him to handle firearms, to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that would interfere with or handicap him in the handling of firearms; to any person who knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;

     (4)   To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;

     (5)   To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;

     (6)   To any person who is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm;

     (7)   To any person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C:2C:43-7.2); or

     (8)   To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned.

     d.    Issuance.  The chief of police of an organized full-time police department of the municipality where the applicant resides or the superintendent, in all other cases, shall upon application, issue to any person qualified under the provisions of subsection c. of this section a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card.

     Any person aggrieved by the denial of a permit or identification card may request a hearing in the Superior Court of the county in which he resides if he is a resident of New Jersey or in the Superior Court of the county in which his application was filed if he is a nonresident.  The request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 30 days of the denial of the application for a permit or identification card.  The applicant shall serve a copy of his request for a hearing upon the chief of police of the municipality in which he resides, if he is a resident of New Jersey, and upon the superintendent in all cases. The hearing shall be held and a record made thereof within 30 days of the receipt of the application for such hearing by the judge of the Superior Court.  No formal pleading and no filing fee shall be required as a preliminary to such hearing. Appeals from the results of such hearing shall be in accordance with law.

     e.     Applications.  Applications for permits to purchase a handgun and for firearms purchaser identification cards shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth the name, residence, place of business, age, date of birth, occupation, sex and physical description, including distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the applicant, and shall state whether the applicant is a citizen, whether he is an alcoholic, habitual drunkard, drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2), whether he has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of such confinement or commitment, whether he has been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital or institution and the dates of such occurrence, whether he presently or ever has been a member of any organization which advocates or approves the commission of acts of force and violence to overthrow the Government of the United States or of this State, or which seeks to deny others their rights under the Constitution of either the United States or the State of New Jersey, whether he has ever been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense, whether the person is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et. seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm, and such other information as the superintendent shall deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter.  For the purpose of complying with this subsection, the applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.  The application shall be signed by the applicant and shall contain as references the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with him.

     Application blanks shall be obtainable from the superintendent, from any other officer authorized to grant such permit or identification card, and from licensed retail dealers.

     The chief police officer or the superintendent shall [obtain the fingerprints of the applicant and shall have them compared with any and all records of fingerprints in the municipality and county in which the applicant resides and also the records of the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, provided that an applicant for a handgun purchase permit who possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, or who has previously obtained a handgun purchase permit from the same licensing authority for which he was previously fingerprinted, and who provides other reasonably satisfactory proof of his identity, need not be fingerprinted again; however, the chief police officer or the superintendent shall proceed to investigate the application to determine whether or not the applicant has become] utilize exclusively the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to determine whether or not an applicant for a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card is eligible and qualified to be issued such a permit or identification card and not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this chapter.

     f.     Granting of permit or identification card; fee; term; renewal; revocation.  The application for the permit to purchase a handgun together with a fee of $2.00, or the application for the firearms purchaser identification card together with a fee of $5.00, shall be delivered or forwarded to the licensing authority who shall investigate the same and, unless good cause for the denial thereof appears, shall grant the permit or the identification card, or both, if application has been made therefore, within [30] 10 days from the date of receipt of the application for residents of this State and within 45 days for nonresident applicants.  A permit to purchase a handgun shall be valid for a period of 90 days from the date of issuance and may be renewed by the issuing authority for good cause for an additional 90 days.  A firearms purchaser identification card shall be valid until such time as the holder becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of this section, whereupon the card shall be void and shall be returned within five days by the holder to the superintendent, who shall then advise the licensing authority. Failure of the holder to return the firearms purchaser identification card to the superintendent within the said five days shall be an offense under section 2C:39-10a. Any firearms purchaser identification card may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county wherein the card was issued, after hearing upon notice, upon a finding that the holder thereof no longer qualifies for the issuance of such permit.  The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality or any citizen may apply to such court at any time for the revocation of such card.

     There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.

     g.     Disposition of fees.  All fees for permits shall be paid to the State Treasury if the permit is issued by the superintendent, to the municipality if issued by the chief of police, and to the county treasurer if issued by the judge of the Superior Court.

     h.     Form of permit; quadruplicate; disposition of copies. The permit shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall be issued to the applicant in quadruplicate.  Prior to the time he receives the handgun from the seller, the applicant shall deliver to the seller the permit in quadruplicate and the seller shall complete all of the information required on the form.  Within five days of the date of the sale, the seller shall forward the original copy to the superintendent and the second copy to the chief of police of the municipality in which the purchaser resides, except that in a municipality having no chief of police, such copy shall be forwarded to the superintendent.  The third copy shall then be returned to the purchaser with the pistol or revolver and the fourth copy shall be kept by the seller as a permanent record.

     i.      Restriction on number of firearms person may purchase. Only one handgun shall be purchased or delivered on each permit, but a person shall not be restricted as to the number of rifles or shotguns he may purchase, provided he possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card and provided further that he signs the certification required in subsection b. of this section for each transaction.

     j.     Firearms passing to heirs or legatees.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section concerning the transfer, receipt or acquisition of a firearm, a permit to purchase or a firearms purchaser identification card shall not be required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to his heir or legatee, whether the same be by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy.  The person who shall so receive, or acquire said firearm shall, however, be subject to all other provisions of this chapter. If the heir or legatee of such firearm does not qualify to possess or carry it, he may retain ownership of the firearm for the purpose of sale for a period not exceeding 180 days, or for such further limited period as may be approved by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the heir or legatee resides or the superintendent, provided that such firearm is in the custody of the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the superintendent during such period.

     k.    Sawed-off shotguns.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the purchase or possession of any sawed-off shotgun.

     l.      Nothing in this section and in N.J.S.2C:58-2 shall apply to the sale or purchase of a visual distress signalling device approved by the United States Coast Guard, solely for possession on a private or commercial aircraft or any boat; provided, however, that no person under the age of 18 years shall purchase nor shall any person sell to a person under the age of 18 years such a visual distress signalling device.

(cf:  P.L. 2003, c.277, s.4)


     2.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would mandate that the State Police and all local police utilize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as their exclusive source when conducting background checks on applicants for permits to purchase a handgun and firearms purchaser identification cards.

     Currently the State Police and local police compare the fingerprints of each applicant for a permit to purchase a handgun and a firearms purchaser identification card with the fingerprint records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Bureau of Investigation.  This approach is time consuming and costs applicants $78 for each background check.

     The NICS program was established under the federal “Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993,” Pub.L. 103-159 (18 u.s.c. s.921 et seq.) to provide quick, authoritative information federally licensed firearms dealers could use to determine whether or not a prospective firearms purchaser was disqualified from receiving or acquiring a firearm.  The information in the NICS database includes records from the Interstate Crime Information Center (criminal history records), the National Crime Information Center (protection orders and active felony and misdemeanor warrants), and the NICS Index (information provided by local, state and federal agencies pertaining to individuals prohibited under law from receiving a firearm).  Database information from the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement is also available when a NICS check involves a non-United States citizen

     The NICS database is accessible by telephone or electronically via the Internet.  In most instances, the information concerning a prospective purchaser’s eligibility to obtain a firearm is provided within 30 seconds.

     Using a NICS background check as the basis for issuing State permits to purchase a handgun and firearms purchaser identification cards would not only speed up the application process, but also be less costly.

     Further, the shift to using NICS would not jeopardize the integrity of New Jersey’s strict regulatory scheme concerning the sale and possession of firearms.  The four databases a NICS background search involves (the Interstate Identification Index, the National Crime Information Center, the NICS Index, and the Department of Homeland Security) would provide the comprehensive, nationwide criminal background history essential to ensure that each applicant is lawfully eligible to acquire and possess a firearm.