ASSEMBLY, No. 588

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  L. GRACE SPENCER

District 29 (Essex)

Assemblyman  ALBERT COUTINHO

District 29 (Essex)

Assemblyman  PATRICK J. DIEGNAN, JR.

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Coughlin, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Gusciora

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning certain ammunition and amending N.J.S.2C:39-3.

 

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

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:39-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:39-3.  Prohibited Weapons and Devices.

     a.     Destructive devices.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any destructive device is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

     b.    Sawed-off shotguns.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any sawed-off shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

     c.     Silencers.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm silencer is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     d.    Defaced firearms.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm which has been defaced, except an antique firearm or an antique handgun, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     e.     Certain weapons.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, metal knuckle, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     f.     Dum-dum or body armor penetrating bullets.  (1) Any person, other than a law enforcement officer or persons engaged in activities pursuant to subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-6, who knowingly has in his possession any hollow nose or dum-dum bullet, or (2) any person, other than a collector of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, United States Code, section 921 (a) (13) and has in his possession a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who knowingly has in his possession any body armor breaching or penetrating ammunition, which means:  (a) ammunition primarily designed for use in a handgun, and (b) which is comprised of a bullet whose core or jacket, if the jacket is thicker than .025 of an inch, is made of tungsten carbide, or hard bronze, or other material which is harder than a rating of 72 or greater on the Rockwell B. Hardness Scale, and (c) is therefore capable of breaching or penetrating body armor, or (3) any person, other than a law enforcement officer, who knowingly has in his possession handgun ammunition which (a) 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, or (b) after testing, the Attorney General determines poses a threat to the safety and well being of law enforcement officers because of the materials, be they metallic or nonmetallic, used in its composition or because its ogive, core or jacket are of a design, construction or formulation which makes it capable of breaching or penetrating body armor, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  For purposes of this section, a collector may possess not more than three examples of each distinctive variation of the ammunition described above. A distinctive variation includes a different head stamp, composition, design, or color.

     g.     Exceptions.  (1)  Nothing in subsection a., b., c., d., e., f., j. or k. of this section shall apply to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or except as otherwise provided, to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty, provided that his possession of the prohibited weapon or device has been duly authorized under the applicable laws, regulations or military or law enforcement orders.  Nothing in subsection h. of this section shall apply to any law enforcement officer who is exempted from the provisions of that subsection by the Attorney General.  Nothing in this section shall apply to the possession of any weapon or device by a law enforcement officer who has confiscated, seized or otherwise taken possession of said weapon or device as evidence of the commission of a crime or because he believed it to be possessed illegally by the person from whom it was taken, provided that said law enforcement officer promptly notifies his superiors of his possession of such prohibited weapon or device.

     (2) a.  Nothing in subsection f. (1) shall be construed to prevent a person from keeping such ammunition at his dwelling, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, or from carrying such ammunition from the place of purchase to said dwelling or land, nor shall subsection f. (1) be construed to prevent any licensed retail or wholesale firearms dealer from possessing such ammunition at its licensed premises, provided that the seller of any such ammunition shall maintain a record of the name, age and place of residence of any purchaser who is not a licensed dealer, together with the date of sale and quantity of ammunition sold.

     b.    Nothing in subsection f. (1) shall be construed to prevent a designated  employee or designated licensed agent for a nuclear power plant under the license of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from possessing hollow nose ammunition while in the actual performance of his official duties, if the federal licensee certifies that the designated employee or designated licensed agent is assigned to perform site protection, guard, armed response or armed escort duties and is appropriately trained and qualified, as prescribed by federal regulation, to perform those duties.

     (3) Nothing in paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection f. or in subsection j. shall be construed to prevent any licensed retail or wholesale firearms dealer from possessing that ammunition or large capacity ammunition magazine at its licensed premises for sale or disposition to another licensed dealer, the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or to a law enforcement agency, provided that the seller maintains a record of any sale or disposition to a law enforcement agency.  The record shall include the name of the purchasing agency, together with written authorization of the chief of police or highest ranking official of the agency, the name and rank of the purchasing law enforcement officer, if applicable, and the date, time and amount of ammunition sold or otherwise disposed. A copy of this record shall be forwarded by the seller to the Superintendent of the Division of State Police within 48 hours of the sale or disposition.

     (4) Nothing in subsection a. of this section shall be construed to apply to antique cannons as exempted in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-6.

     (5) Nothing in subsection c. of this section shall be construed to apply to any person who is specifically identified in a special deer management permit issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to utilize a firearm silencer as part of an alternative deer control method implemented in accordance with a special deer management permit issued pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2000, c.46 (C.23:4-42.6), while the person is in the actual performance of the permitted alternative deer control method and while going to and from the place where the permitted alternative deer control method is being utilized.  This exception shall not, however, otherwise apply to any person to authorize the purchase or possession of a firearm silencer.

     h.     Stun guns.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession any stun gun is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     i.      Nothing in subsection e. of this section shall be construed to prevent any guard in the employ of a private security company, who is licensed to carry a firearm, from the possession of a nightstick when in the actual performance of his official duties, provided that he has satisfactorily completed a training course approved by the Police Training Commission in the use of a nightstick.

     j.     Any person who knowingly has in his possession a large capacity ammunition magazine is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree unless the person has registered an assault firearm pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c.32 (C.2C:58-12) and the magazine is maintained and used in connection with participation in competitive shooting matches sanctioned by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship of the United States Department of the Army.

     k.    Handcuffs.  Any person who knowingly has in his possession handcuffs as defined in P.L.1991, c.437 (C.2C:39-9.2), under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as handcuffs may have, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.  A
law enforcement officer shall confiscate handcuffs possessed in violation of the law.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.168, s.1)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would make the possession of a new generation of handgun ammunition which poses a special threat to the law enforcement community because it has a capacity to breach or penetrate body armor a crime of the fourth degree.

     Under current federal and State law, hollow nose or dum-dum bullets are prohibited, as are bullets which are Teflon-coated or which have specially hardened metal jackets or cores.

     Police officers recently encountered a new and highly destructive bullet.  The SS190AP ammunition for the Five-seveN Tactical handgun is uniquely designed.  It is a full metal jacketed bullet, but utilizes two metal inserts.  The tip of the bullet has a steel penetrator which is followed by an aluminum core.  The weight relationship between the two metals causes the bullet to tumble in soft body tissue, resulting in massive and, in many instances, deadly wounds.

     But it is not just the substantial body trauma these bullets can cause that makes them a special threat to the law enforcement community.  When fired from the Five-seveN handgun, the SS190AP bullet can penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar (the protective material used to make many types of body armor).

     This bill would prohibit individuals, other than law enforcement officers and other statutorily exempted parties (such as members of the Armed Forces of the United States and licensed dealers who sell these type of ammunition to the military or law enforcement agencies), from legally possessing ammunition designed and constructed like the SS190AP bullet that can penetrate body armor.  Violators would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000; imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months; or both.

     Cognizant that future technological and scientific advances might give rise to a new generation of equally dangerous and destructive ammunition, the bill prohibits the possession of any ammunition which the Attorney General, after testing, determines to be a threat to the law enforcement community because its design, composition, construction or formulation makes it capable of breaching or penetrating body armor by a person other than a law enforcement officer, member of the armed forces or licensed dealers who sell them to the military or law enforcement agencies.