Senator RAYMOND J. LESNIAK
District 20 (Union)
Senator BARBARA BUONO
District 18 (Middlesex)
Revises definition of destructive device to include certain weapons of 50 caliber or greater.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning destructive devices, amending N.J.S.2C:39-1 and supplementing chapter 39 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.2C:39-1 is amended to read as follows:
2C:39-1. Definitions. The following definitions apply to this chapter and to chapter 58:
a. "Antique firearm" means any rifle or shotgun and "antique cannon" means a destructive device defined in paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section, if the rifle, shotgun or destructive device, or replica thereof, as the case may be, is incapable of being fired or discharged, or which does not fire fixed ammunition, regardless of date of manufacture, or was manufactured before 1898 for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available, and is possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for its historical significance or value.
b. "Deface" means to remove, deface, cover, alter or destroy the name of the maker, model designation, manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification mark or number on any firearm.
c. "Destructive device" means any device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, including (1) any explosive or incendiary bomb, mine or grenade; (2) any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces or any missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter of an ounce; (3) any weapon capable of firing a projectile of a caliber of 50 or greater [than 60 caliber], except a shotgun or shotgun ammunition generally recognized as suitable for sporting purposes; (4) any Molotov cocktail or other device consisting of a breakable container containing flammable liquid and having a wick or similar device capable of being ignited. The term [does] shall not include any device manufactured for the purpose of illumination, distress signaling, line-throwing, safety or similar purposes. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, the term shall not include any of the following weapons capable of firing a projectile of a caliber of 50 or greater, but not exceeding a caliber of 60: antique firearm; antique handgun; muzzleloader rifle; or black powder muzzleloader having in-line ignition, a center hammer or an under hammer which has been, or subsequently is, approved for hunting in this State. The term also shall not include any firearm with a bore diameter greater than 60 caliber whose principle means of ignition are traditional flintlock or caplock and whose principle propellant is black powder.
d. "Dispose of" means to give, give away, lease, loan, keep for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer, or otherwise transfer possession.
e. "Explosive" means any chemical compound or mixture that is commonly used or is possessed for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustible materials or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion or by detonation of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects. The term shall not include small arms ammunition, or explosives in the form prescribed by the official United States Pharmacopoeia.
f. "Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.
g. "Firearm silencer" means any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm.
h. "Gravity knife" means any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force.
i. "Machine gun" means any firearm, mechanism or instrument not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir, belt or other means of storing and carrying ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism or instrument and fired therefrom.
j. "Manufacturer" means any person who receives or obtains raw materials or parts and processes them into firearms or finished parts of firearms, except a person who exclusively processes grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms. The term does not include a person who repairs existing firearms or receives new and used raw materials or parts solely for the repair of existing firearms.
k. "Handgun" means any pistol, revolver or other firearm originally designed or manufactured to be fired by the use of a single hand.
l. "Retail dealer" means any person including a gunsmith, except a manufacturer or a wholesale dealer, who sells, transfers or assigns for a fee or profit any firearm or parts of firearms or ammunition which he has purchased or obtained with the intention, or for the purpose, of reselling or reassigning to persons who are reasonably understood to be the ultimate consumers, and includes any person who is engaged in the business of repairing firearms or who sells any firearm to satisfy a debt secured by the pledge of a firearm.
m. "Rifle" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
n. "Shotgun" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shots or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, or any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder which does not fire fixed ammunition.
o. "Sawed-off shotgun" means any shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or any firearm made from a rifle or a shotgun, whether by alteration, or otherwise, if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches.
p. "Switchblade knife" means any knife or similar device which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.
q. "Superintendent" means the Superintendent of the State Police.
r. "Weapon" means anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. The term includes, but is not limited to, all (1) firearms, even though not loaded or lacking a clip or other component to render them immediately operable; (2) components which can be readily assembled into a weapon; (3) gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other dangerous knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood; and (4) stun guns; and any weapon or other device which projects, releases, or emits tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.
s. "Wholesale dealer" means any person, except a manufacturer, who sells, transfers, or assigns firearms, or parts of firearms, to persons who are reasonably understood not to be the ultimate consumers, and includes persons who receive finished parts of firearms and assemble them into completed or partially completed firearms, in furtherance of such purpose, except that it shall not include those persons dealing exclusively in grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms.
t. "Stun gun" means any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person.
u. "Ballistic knife" means any weapon or other device capable of lethal use and which can propel a knife blade.
v. "Imitation firearm" means an object or device reasonably capable of being mistaken for a firearm.
w. "Assault firearm" means:
(1) The following firearms:
Algimec AGM1 type
Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder such as the "Street Sweeper" or "Striker 12"
Armalite AR-180 type
Australian Automatic Arms SAR
Avtomat Kalashnikov type semi-automatic firearms
Beretta AR-70 and BM59 semi-automatic firearms
Bushmaster Assault Rifle
Calico M-900 Assault carbine and M-900
Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88 type
Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series
Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1 and Max 2, AR 100 types
Demro TAC-1 carbine type
Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbine types
FAMAS MAS223 types
FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms
Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12 shotguns
Galil type Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1
Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms
M1 carbine type
MAC 10, MAC 11, MAC 11-9mm carbine type firearms
PJK M-68 carbine type
Plainfield Machine Company Carbine
Ruger K-Mini-14/5F and Mini-14/5RF
SIG AMT, SIG 550SP, SIG 551SP, SIG PE-57 types
SKS with detachable magazine type
Spectre Auto carbine type
Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48 type
Sterling MK-6, MK-7 and SAR types
Steyr A.U.G. semi-automatic firearms
USAS 12 semi-automatic type shotgun
Uzi type semi-automatic firearms
Valmet M62, M71S, M76, or M78 type semi-automatic firearms
Weaver Arm Nighthawk.
(2) Any firearm manufactured under any designation which is substantially identical to any of the firearms listed above.
(3) A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock.
(4) A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 15 rounds.
(5) A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.
x. "Semi-automatic" means a firearm which fires a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger and is self-reloading or automatically chambers a round, cartridge, or bullet.
y. "Large capacity ammunition magazine" means a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm.
z. "Pistol grip" means a well-defined handle, similar to that found on a handgun, that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, and which permits the shotgun to be held and fired with one hand.
aa. "Antique handgun" means a handgun manufactured before 1898, or a replica thereof, which is recognized as being historical in nature or of historical significance and either (1) utilizes a match, friction, flint, or percussion ignition, or which utilizes a pin-fire cartridge in which the pin is part of the cartridge or (2) does not fire fixed ammunition or for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available.
bb. "Trigger lock" means a commercially available device approved by the Superintendent of State Police which is operated with a key or combination lock that prevents a firearm from being discharged while the device is attached to the firearm. It may include, but need not be limited to, devices that obstruct the barrel or cylinder of the firearm, as well as devices that immobilize the trigger.
cc. "Trigger locking device" means a device that, if installed on a firearm and secured by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock, prevents the firearm from being discharged without first deactivating or removing the device by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock.
dd. "Personalized handgun" means a handgun which incorporates within its design, and as part of its original manufacture, technology which automatically limits its operational use and which cannot be readily deactivated, so that it may only be fired by an authorized or recognized user. The technology limiting the handgun's operational use may include, but not be limited to: radio frequency tagging, touch memory, remote control, fingerprint, magnetic encoding and other automatic user identification systems utilizing biometric, mechanical or electronic systems. No make or model of a handgun shall be deemed to be a "personalized handgun" unless the Attorney General has determined, through testing or other reasonable means, that the handgun meets any reliability standards that the manufacturer may require for its commercially available handguns that are not personalized or, if the manufacturer has no such reliability standards, the handgun meets the reliability standards generally used in the industry for commercially available handguns.
ee. “Muzzleloader rifle" means a single shot, single barrel, side lock percussion or flintlock firearm with iron or peep sights, or with a fiber optic sight or scope, and a stock made of wood or any synthetic material.
(cf: P.L.2002, c.130, s.5)
2. (New section) a. The Superintendent of State Police shall establish a buyback program for firearms prohibited under the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-1. Funding for the buyback program established pursuant to this section shall be provided by the Attorney General from the proceeds resulting from the forfeiture of any money or property seized pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
b. From the effective date of P.L. , c. (pending before the Legislature as this bill) until the implementation of the buyback program established pursuant to subsection a. of this section, no person shall be convicted of an offense under chapter 39 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statues for unlawfully possessing a firearm prohibited under the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-1. Thereafter no person shall be convicted of an offense under chapter 39 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes for unlawfully possessing or transporting a firearm prohibited under the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 for any action associated with participation in the buyback program established pursuant to this section, provided those participatory actions are consistent with guidelines promulgated by the Attorney General, in consultation with the superintendent.
c. The immunity afforded under subsection b. of this section shall apply only to the possession and transport of a firearm surrendered as part of the buyback program established pursuant to subsection a. of this section, and shall not be construed as granting immunity from prosecution for any other crime or offense under chapter 39 or chapter 58 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.
3. (New section) a. A person who lawfully possesses a firearm prohibited under the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 on the effective date of P.L. , c. (pending before the Legislature as this bill) may retain possession of that firearm for a period not to exceed one year from that effective date. During that time period, the owner of the prohibited firearm shall either:
(1) Transfer the prohibited firearm to a person or firm lawfully entitled to own or possess such firearm;
(2) Render the prohibited firearm inoperable; or
(3) Voluntarily surrender the prohibited firearm through participation in the buyback program established pursuant to section 2 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
b. If the owner of the prohibited firearm elects to render the firearm inoperable, the owner shall file a certification on a form prescribed by the Superintendent of State Police indicating the date on which the firearm was rendered inoperable. This certification shall be filed with either the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the owner resides or, in the case of an owner who resides outside this State but stores or possesses an assault firearm in this State, with the Superintendent of State Police.
c. As used in this section, "inoperable" means that the firearm is altered in such a manner that it cannot be immediately fired and that the owner or possessor of the firearm does not possess or have control over the parts necessary to make the firearm operable.
4. This act shall take effect on the first day of the second month following enactment.
This bill amends N.J.S.2C:39-1 to revise the definition of "destructive device" so that it includes weapons of 50 caliber or greater.
Although it centers primarily on devices or instruments designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, the current statutory definition of "destructive device" also includes weapons which fire projectiles of greater than 60 caliber.
Under the bill and subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-3, it would be unlawful to possess a firearm having a caliber of 50 or greater. A person violating this provision would be guilty of a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, imprisonment for three to five years, or both.
The bill does, however, provide exemptions for 1) antique firearms; 2) antique handguns; 3) muzzleloader rifles; and 4) black powder muzzleloaders having in-line ignition, a center hammer or an under hammer which have been approved for hunting in this State. These firearms would continue to be governed by the statute's current "greater than 60 caliber" restriction. Antique firearms and handguns are defined in the statutes as firearms which:
(1) do not fire fixed ammunition or were manufactured before 1898 and for which fixed ammunition is not commercially available; and
(2) are possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for their historical significance or value. The statutory definition of “antique handgun” includes replicas; under this bill, “antique firearm” and “antique cannon” are also defined to include replicas.
The bill defines a muzzleloader rifle to mean a single shot, single barrel, side lock percussion or flintlock firearm with iron or peep sights, or with a fiber optic sight or scope, and a stock made of wood or any synthetic material.
The bill also excludes from the definition of a destructive device any firearm with a bore diameter larger than 60 caliber whose principle means of ignition are traditional flintlock or caplock and whose principle propellant is black powder. This would allow the possession of certain weapons greater than 60 caliber currently used by revolutionary war re-enactors.
Under the provisions of the bill, it would be unlawful for anyone to possess a prohibited firearm of 50 caliber or greater. The bill, however, grants individuals who lawfully own one of these prohibited firearms one year in which to dispose of them.
To facilitate the voluntary surrender of these firearms, the bill authorizes the Superintendent of State Police to establish a buyback program. Funding for this program is to be provided by the Attorney General from the proceeds acquired from the property and valuables forfeited by convicted criminals. Those not wishing to participate in this buyback program may (1) sell their prohibited firearm to someone who is authorized to lawfully possess it or (2) render the prohibited firearm inoperable and so notify the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Finally, the bill affords immunity from prosecution to individuals during the interim between the effective date of the bill and the actual establishment of the buyback program. Thereafter, the bill affords immunity from prosecution to individuals for their actions associated with their participation in the buyback programs.