ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION No. 54

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  TIM EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  NICHOLAS CHIARAVALLOTI

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges Congress to oppose pending federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Assembly Resolution urging Congress to oppose pending federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation.

 

Whereas, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015 there were 36,252 firearms deaths in the United States, including 12,979 homicides and 22,018 suicides; in addition, an average of 78,815 non-fatal firearms injuries occur each year; and

Whereas, The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution confers an individual right to keep and bear arms, but the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that this right, like most rights in the Bill of Rights, is not unlimited; and

Whereas, The Second Amendment right has long been considered an area that is subject to regulation by the states, and courts have held that restrictions such as licensing laws, background checks, and waiting periods are not inconsistent with the Second Amendment; and

Whereas, State laws related to gun control vary widely across the United States, with 39 states requiring a state-issued permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in public; nine of these states have “may issue” laws granting the issuing authority wide discretion to deny a concealed carry permit, and 30 of these states have “shall issue” laws requiring the issuing authority to grant most concealed carry permit requests; and

Whereas, Researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health found that states with the most firearm regulations have a lower rate of firearm fatalities overall, and for suicides and homicides individually; and

Whereas, In 2013, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence graded the gun laws of the different states and found that seven states with the highest grades, including New Jersey, also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide, while many states with the weakest gun laws have the highest gun death rates; and

Whereas, In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010), the United States Supreme Court held that an outright ban on weapons inside the home unconstitutionally undermined the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but in both decisions the Supreme Court articulated that commonsense regulations of guns by the states would not infringe this right; and

Whereas, New Jersey’s gun safety laws, among the strongest in the nation, prohibit its citizens from carrying a handgun in public unless they have obtained a permit to carry that handgun; and

Whereas, To obtain a permit to carry a handgun, an applicant is required to demonstrate “justifiable need,” which is defined as “the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by serious threats, specific threats, or previous attacks, which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by reasonable means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun”; and

Whereas, While there have been several legal challenges to the justifiable need standard, both State and federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of the State’s justifiable need requirement, and the United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari on the constitutional challenge; and

Whereas, Federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation, currently pending in Congress as companion bills S.446, the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” and H.R.38, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” would authorize gun owners with concealed carry permits from one state to take their guns into any other state, even if that state has stricter limits on carrying concealed weapons; and

Whereas, This legislation would effectively override New Jersey’s and many other states’ existing gun safety laws and would provide a loophole for gun owners who are currently unable to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in their own state; and

Whereas, It is therefore fitting and proper for Congress to oppose these federal concealed carry reciprocity bills in order to preserve the right of New Jersey and other states to regulate gun safety, a right which has been explicitly recognized by the United States Supreme Court and has been held to be consistent with the Second Amendment; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This House urges the United States Congress to oppose the federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation that is currently pending in Congress as companion bills S.446, the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” and H.R.38, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” in order to preserve the right of New Jersey and other states to regulate gun safety, a right that has been explicitly recognized by the United States Supreme Court and has been held to be consistent with the Second Amendment.

 

     2.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and each member of Congress elected from this State.

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution urges Congress to oppose federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation that is currently pending in Congress as companion bills S.446, the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” and H.R.38, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” in order to preserve the right of New Jersey and other states to regulate gun safety.  These federal bills would authorize people with concealed carry permits from one state to take their guns into any other state, even if that state has stricter limits on carrying concealed weapons.

     The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution confers an individual right to keep and bear arms; however, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that this right, like most rights in the Bill of Rights, is not unlimited.  In Heller v. District of Columbia, and McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court held that an outright ban on weapons inside the home unconstitutionally undermined the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; however, in both decisions, the Supreme Court articulated that commonsense regulations of guns by the states would not infringe the Second Amendment.

     State laws related to gun control vary widely across the United States.  States with the most stringent gun safety laws, including New Jersey, also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide, while many states with the weakest gun laws have the highest gun death rates.  New Jersey’s gun safety laws, which are among the strongest in the nation, prohibit its citizens from carrying a handgun in public unless they have obtained a permit to carry that handgun.

     To obtain a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey, an applicant is required to demonstrate justifiable need which is defined as “the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by serious threats, specific threats, or previous attacks, which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by reasonable means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.  Both State and federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of the justifiable need requirement, and the United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari on the constitutional challenge.

     By allowing gun owners from states that do not require concealed carry permits to carry weapons in states that require permits to openly carry a handgun, the pending federal concealed carry reciprocity bills effectively override New Jersey’s and many other existing states’ gun laws and provide a loophole for gun owners who are currently unable to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in their own state.