SENATE, No. 549



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

208th LEGISLATURE



INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 23, 1998





Sponsored by:

Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Mercer)









SYNOPSIS

Requires locking device or warning to be provided in handgun sales.



CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.



An Act concerning handguns and amending N.J.S.2C:39-1 and N.J.S.2C:58-2.



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 firearm and "antique cannon" means a destructive device defined in paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section, if the firearm or destructive device, 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 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 not include any device manufactured for the purpose of illumination, distress signaling, line-throwing, safety or similar purposes.

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

CETME G3

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

G3SA type

Galil type Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1

Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms

M1 carbine type

M14S 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. "Locking device" means:

(1) 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; or

(2) A locking mechanism incorporated into the design of a firearm that prevents discharge of the firearm by any person who does not have access to the key or other device designed to unlock the mechanism and thereby allow discharge of the firearm.

(cf: P.L.1990, c.32, s.1)



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

2C:58-2 a. Licensing of retail dealers and their employees. No retail dealer of firearms nor any employee of a retail dealer shall sell or expose for sale, or possess with the intent of selling, any firearm unless licensed to do so as hereinafter provided. The superintendent shall prescribe standards and qualifications for retail dealers of firearms and their employees for the protection of the public safety, health and welfare.

Applications shall be made in the form prescribed by the superintendent, accompanied by a fee of $50.00 payable to the superintendent, and shall be made to a judge of the Superior Court in the county where the applicant maintains his place of business. The judge shall grant a license to an applicant if he finds that the applicant meets the standards and qualifications established by the superintendent and that the applicant can be permitted to engage in business as a retail dealer of firearms or employee thereof without any danger to the public safety, health and welfare. Each license shall be valid for a period of 3 years from the date of issuance, and shall authorize the holder to sell firearms at retail in a specified municipality.

In addition, every retail dealer shall pay a fee of $5.00 for each employee actively engaged in the sale or purchase of firearms. The superintendent shall issue a license for each employee for whom said fee has been paid, which license shall be valid for so long as the employee remains in the employ of said retail dealer.

No license shall be granted to any retail dealer under the age of 21 years or to any employee of a retail dealer under the age of 18 or to any person who could not qualify to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card, or to any corporation, partnership or other business organization in which the actual or equitable controlling interest is held or possessed by such an ineligible person.

All licenses shall be granted subject to the following conditions, for breach of any of which the license shall be subject to revocation on the application of any law enforcement officer and after notice and hearing by the issuing court:

(1) The business shall be carried on only in the building or buildings designated in the license, provided that repairs may be made by the dealer or his employees outside of such premises.

(2) The license or a copy certified by the issuing authority shall be displayed at all times in a conspicuous place on the business premises where it can be easily read.

(3) No firearm or imitation thereof shall be placed in any window or in any other part of the premises where it can be readily seen from the outside.

(4) No rifle or shotgun, except antique rifles or shotguns, shall be delivered to any person unless such person possesses and exhibits a valid firearms purchaser identification card and furnishes the seller, on the form prescribed by the superintendent, a certification signed by him setting forth his name, permanent address, firearms purchaser identification card number and such other information as the superintendent may by rule or regulation require. The certification shall be retained by the dealer and shall be made available for inspection by any law enforcement officer at any reasonable time.

(5) No handgun shall be delivered to any person unless:

(a) Such person possesses and exhibits a valid permit to purchase a firearm and at least 7 days have elapsed since the date of application for the permit;

(b) The person is personally known to the seller or presents evidence of his identity; [and]

(c) The handgun is unloaded and securely wrapped; and

(d) The handgun is accompanied by a locking device or the following warning, which shall appear in conspicuous and legible type in capital letters, and which shall be printed on a label affixed to the gun and on a separate sheet of paper included within the packaging enclosing the handgun:

"THE USE OF A LOCKING DEVICE OR SAFETY LOCK IS ONLY ONE ASPECT OF RESPONSIBLE FIREARM STORAGE. FIREARMS SHOULD BE STORED UNLOADED AND LOCKED IN A LOCATION THAT IS BOTH SEPARATE FROM THEIR AMMUNITION AND INACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN. FAILURE TO PROPERLY LOCK AND STORE YOUR FIREARM MAY RESULT IN CIVIL OR CRIMINAL LIABILITY UNDER STATE LAW. IN ADDITION, FEDERAL AND STATE LAW PROHIBIT THE POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN BY A MINOR IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES.

(6) The dealer shall keep a true record of every handgun sold, given or otherwise delivered or disposed of, in accordance with the provisions of subsections b. through e. of this section and the record shall note that a locking device or warning was delivered along with the handgun.

b. Records. Every person engaged in the retail business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring a handgun, as a retail dealer or otherwise, shall keep a register in which shall be entered the time of the sale, lease or other transfer, the date thereof, the name, age, date of birth, complexion, occupation, residence and a physical description including distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the purchaser, lessee or transferee, the name and permanent home address of the person making the sale, lease or transfer, the place of the transaction, and the make, model, manufacturer's number, caliber and other marks of identification on such handgun and such other information as the superintendent shall deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter. The register shall be retained by the dealer and shall be made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer.

c. Forms of register. The superintendent shall prepare the form of the register as described in subsection b. of this section and furnish the same in triplicate to each person licensed to be engaged in the business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring firearms.

d. Signatures in register. The purchaser, lessee or transferee of any handgun shall sign, and the dealer shall require him to sign his name to the register, in triplicate, and the person making the sale, lease or transfer shall affix his name, in triplicate, as a witness to the signature. The signatures shall constitute a representation of the accuracy of the information contained in the register.

e. Copies of register entries; delivery to chief of police or county clerk. Within 5 days of the date of the sale, assignment or transfer, the dealer shall deliver or mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, legible copies of the register forms to the office of the chief of police of the municipality in which the purchaser resides, or to the office of the captain of the precinct of the municipality in which the purchaser resides, and to the superintendent. If hand delivered a receipt shall be given to the dealer therefor.

Where a sale, assignment or transfer is made to a purchaser who resides in a municipality having no chief of police, the dealer shall, within 5 days of the transaction, mail a duplicate copy of the register sheet to the clerk of the county within which the purchaser resides.

(cf: P.L.1979, c.179, s.10)



3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month after enactment.





STATEMENT



This bill prohibits the sale of a handgun unless it is equipped with a locking device or warning urging the use of a locking device. The bill defines a locking device as (1) a device that, if installed on a firearm and secured by means of a key or a 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, or (2) a locking mechanism incorporated into the design of a firearm that prevents discharge of the firearm by any person who does not have access to the key or other device designed to unlock the mechanism and thereby allow discharge of the firearm.

If the warning is given, it must appear in conspicuous and legible type in capital letters, and must be printed on a label affixed to the gun and on a separate sheet of paper included within the packaging enclosing the gun. The warning would state that the use of a locking device or safety lock is only one aspect of responsible firearm storage; that firearms should be stored unloaded and locked in a location that is both separate from their ammunition and inaccessible to children; and that failure to properly lock and store a firearm may result in civil or criminal liability under State law.

A violation of the bill's provisions would be a crime of the fourth degree, which is the penalty under current law (N.J.S.2C:39-10) governing violations of the regulatory provisions on firearms. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a fine of $7,500, imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both.

This bill is based on pending federal legislation that would establish the "Child Safety Lock Act of 1997."