SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

No. 8



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

208th LEGISLATURE



INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 23, 1998





Sponsored by:

Senator C. LOUIS BASSANO

District 21 (Essex and Union)









SYNOPSIS

Creates a commission to study desirability of regulating sale of toy guns that resemble real firearms.



CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.



A Joint Resolution creating a commission to examine the utility and desirability of enacting legislation to regulate, restrict, or prohibit the sale of toy guns that resemble real firearms in appearance.



Whereas, Certain toy guns are manufactured with such great attention to detail that it is quite difficult to distinguish them quickly and easily from real firearms; and

Whereas, While such toys are appealing to children precisely because they are so realistic in appearance, that realism can pose significant problems and dangers; and

Whereas, The easy availability of realistic looking toy guns can enable young toughs and petty thugs to wreak havoc and terrorize peaceable citizens; and

Whereas, For law enforcement officers, who all too often are required to make split-second decisions, the inability to determine instantly whether they are confronting a toy gun or a real firearm can be fatal; and

Whereas, It is, therefore, altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest, to create a special commission to study the desirability of enacting legislation that would either regulate or prohibit altogether the sale of toy guns that closely resemble real firearms in appearance; now, therefore,

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



1. There is created a commission, to be known as the Toy Gun Study Commission, to consist of 17 members as follows: the Attorney General, who shall serve as the chairman of the commission; the Superintendent of State Police; three members of the Senate to be appointed by the President thereof, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party; three members of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Speaker thereof, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party; three representatives of local law enforcement agencies, one of whom shall be appointed by the Governor, one by the Senate President and one by the Speaker of the General Assembly; three representatives of manufacturers of toy guns, one appointed by the Governor, one by the Senate President, and one by the Speaker of the General Assembly; and three representatives of retail toy merchants, one appointed by the Governor, one by the Senate President, and one by the Speaker of the General Assembly. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Any vacancy in the membership of the commission shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as the original appointment was made.



2. The commission shall organize as soon as may be practicable after the appointment of its members. The members shall select a secretary, who need not be a member of the commission.



3. The commission is directed to examine the utility and desirability of enacting legislation designed to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale of toy guns that closely resemble real firearms in appearance.



4. The commission is entitled to the assistance and service of the employees of any State, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses as may be necessary in order to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.



5. The commission may meet and hold hearings at the places its designates during the sessions or recesses of the Legislature and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature, along with any legislative bills it desires to recommend for adoption by the Legislature, no later than six months following the organization of the commission pursuant to section 2 of this joint resolution.



6. This joint resolution shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the submission of the commission's final report, as prescribed in section 5 of this joint resolution.





STATEMENT



This joint resolution creates a 17-member commission to study the utility and desirability of regulating, restricting or prohibiting the sale of toy guns that closely resemble real firearms in appearance. Toy guns that are difficult to distinguish from real firearms pose problems for law enforcement officers who often are required to make split-second decisions. These toys can also be troublesome in the hands of young toughs and petty thugs who use them for criminal activities and to terrorize the public.

The commission is to consist of the Attorney General, who is to serve as the chairman; the Superintendent of State Police; three Senators; three members of the General Assembly; three representatives of local law enforcement agencies; three representatives of the manufacturers of toy guns; and three representatives of the retail toy merchants. Under the resolution, the Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the General Assembly are each to appoint one of the representatives of the local law enforcement agencies, toy gun manufacturers, and retail toy merchants.

The commission is to submit its report to the Governor and the Legislature within six months of its organization, along with any legislative bills it may wish to recommend for adoption by the Legislature.