SENATE, No. 128



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

208th LEGISLATURE



PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 1998 SESSION





Sponsored by:

Senator JOHN H. ADLER

District 6 (Camden)

Senator RICHARD J. CODEY

District 27 (Essex)









SYNOPSIS

Prohibits sale and possession of certain handguns commonly called "Saturday Night Specials."



CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.



An Act concerning certain firearms and amending N.J.S.2C:39-3 and N.J.S.2C:39-9.



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, 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, 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) 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.

(3) Nothing in paragraph (2) 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) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law enforcement officer who in the course of his actual duties is specifically authorized to possess such a handgun by his superior officer.

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.

l. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a handgun which has a die-cast, metal alloy frame or receiver which melts at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(cf: P.L.1991, c.437, s.1)



2. N.J.S.2C:39-9 is amended to read as follows:

2C:39-9. Manufacture, Transport, Disposition and Defacement of Weapons and Dangerous Instruments and Appliances. a. Machine guns. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of any machine gun without being registered or licensed to do so as provided in chapter 58 is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

b. Sawed-off shotguns. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of any sawed-off shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

c. Firearm silencers. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of any firearm silencer is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

d. Weapons. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of any weapon, including gravity knives, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, billies, blackjacks, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings, or in the case of firearms if he is not licensed or registered to do so as provided in chapter 58, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of any weapon or other device which projects, releases or emits tear gas or other substances intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air, which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel or the device is for the purpose of personal self-defense, is pocket-sized and contains not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not ordinarily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury, or other than to be used by any person permitted to possess such weapon or device under the provisions of subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, which is intended for use by financial and other business institutions as part of an integrated security system, placed at fixed locations, for the protection of money and property, by the duly authorized personnel of those institutions, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

e. Defaced firearms. Any person who defaces any firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Any person who knowingly buys, receives, disposes of or conceals a defaced firearm, except an antique firearm, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

f. (1) Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells, or disposes of any bullet, which is primarily designed for use in a handgun, and 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 is therefore capable of breaching or penetrating body armor and which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a licensed collector of ammunition as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-3 from transporting the bullets defined in paragraph (1) of this subsection from (a) any licensed retail or wholesale firearms dealer's place of business to the collector's dwelling, premises, or other land owned or possessed by him, or (b) to or from the collector's dwelling, premises or other land owned or possessed by him to any gun show for the purposes of display, sale, trade, or transfer between collectors, or (c) to or from the collector's dwelling, premises or other land owned or possessed by him to any rifle or pistol club organized in accordance with the rules prescribed by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice; provided that the club has filed a copy of its charter with the superintendent of the State Police and annually submits a list of its members to the superintendent, and provided further that the ammunition being transported shall be carried not loaded in any firearm and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

g. Assault firearms. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of an assault firearm without being registered or licensed to do so pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-1 et seq. is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

h. Large capacity ammunition magazines. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of a large capacity ammunition magazine which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

i. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of a handgun which has a die-cast, metal alloy frame or receiver which melts at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(cf: P.L.1990, c.32, s.3)



3. This act shall take effect immediately.





STATEMENT



This bill prohibits the manufacture, sale and possession of certain handguns, commonly known as "Saturday Night Specials."

"Saturday Night Specials" are cheap handguns that young criminals often use. These inexpensive weapons (some sell for as little as $35) appear to be the weapon used in a disproportionate number of robberies and murders. Attempts to outlaw the possession and sale of these types of handguns have failed due to an inability to develop a statutorily valid definition.

Under the provisions of this bill, it would be illegal to manufacture, sell or knowingly possess a handgun which has a die-cast, metal alloy frame or receiver which melts at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bill specifies that a person who manufactures or transports any such handgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of not more than $7,500, a term of imprisonment between three and five years, or both. A person who knowingly possesses such a handgun is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a fine of not more than $7,500, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 18 months, or both.

The underlying rationale of the bill is simple. "Saturday Night Specials" are cheap because they are made of cheap materials (die-cast alloys rather than the stainless steel usually used in quality handguns). The melting point of a stainless steel handgun is approximately 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.