SENATE, No. 2045
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED MAY 4, 2000
Senator DONALD T. DIFRANCESCO
District 22 (Middlesex, Morris, Somerset and Union)
Senator RICHARD J. CODEY
District 27 (Essex)
Senators Allen, Inverso, Sinagra, Singer, Kosco, Vitale and Turner
Imposes restrictions on future retail sales of handguns; mandates sales of personalized handguns when found available for retail sales purposes.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 6/29/2001)
An Act concerning the sale of handguns, supplementing chapter 58 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes 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. (New section) a. The Legislature finds:
New Jersey's commitment to firearms safety is unrivaled anywhere in the nation;
New Jersey was the first state to require retail dealers to include, as part of every handgun sale, either a State Police approved trigger lock or a locked case, gun box, container or other secure facility;
To encourage all firearms owners to practice safe storage, the State has waived all sales taxes on trigger locks, firearms lock-boxes and vaults and, under the "KeepSafe" program, offers an instant $5 rebate to all retail firearms purchasers who buy a compatible trigger locking device along with their firearm;
New Jersey was the first state to require all firearms dealers to prominently display State-provided firearms information and safety warnings;
New Jersey was one of the first states to make parents and guardians statutorily responsible for unwittingly or carelessly permitting minors under their control to gain access to loaded firearms;
New Jersey statutorily prohibits anyone under the age of 18 years from purchasing or otherwise acquiring a firearm and permits such minors to possess or carry a firearm only in a very limited number of strictly defined situations and under the direct supervision of a qualified parent, guardian or instructor;
To enforce this strict regulatory scheme, New Jersey imposes harsh penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison term of three years, on anyone who knowingly sells, transfers or gives a firearm to a person under the age of 18 years; and
New Jersey was the first state to allocate, as part of its annual Appropriations Act, moneys dedicated exclusively for the development of personal handgun technology, and the amount so allocated, $1,000,000, was one-fifth the total amount the federal government allocated toward the development of this important firearms safety technology in the same fiscal year.
b. The Legislature further finds:
Smith & Wesson, the nation's largest firearms manufacturer, recently announced a new commitment to firearms safety;
As part of a legal settlement with the United States Department of the Treasury, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and several states and local governmental units, Smith & Wesson agreed to make significant changes in its manufacturing, firearms design and marketing practices, which will foster firearms safety; and
One of the most significant aspects of that agreement is Smith & Wesson's pledge to develop and adopt new firearms design standards which will dramatically enhance firearms safety, most notably its promise to invest a specific percentage of its firearms revenues into the development of " authorized user technology," the technology that will make personalized handguns a reality, and its vow that within 36 months all new Smith & Wesson handgun models will incorporate that safety technology.
c. The Legislature, therefore, declares:
It is within the public interest, and vital to the safety of our families and children, to take advantage of Smith & Wesson's pledge to develop and incorporate "user technology" in its new handgun models and to encourage other firearms manufacturers to make similar commitments. This may be accomplished through the enactment of legislation designed to further enhance firearms safety in New Jersey by requiring that, within a specified period of time after the date on which these new personalized handguns are deemed to be available for retail sales purposes, no other type of handgun shall be sold or offered for sale by any registered or licensed firearms dealer in this State.
2. (New section) a. On the first day of the sixth month following the effective date of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Attorney General shall report to the Governor and the Legislature as to the availability of personalized handguns for retail sales purposes. If the Attorney General determines that personalized handguns are not available for retail sales purposes, the Attorney General, every six months thereafter, shall report to the Governor and the Legislature as to the availability of personalized handguns for retail sales purposes until such time as the Attorney General shall deem that personalized handguns are available for retail sales purposes and so report to the Governor and the Legislature.
b. For the purposes of this section, personalized handguns shall be deemed to be available for retail sales purposes if at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state.
3. (New section) a. On the first day of the 24th month following the date on which the Attorney General reports that personalized handguns are available for retail sales purposes pursuant to section 2 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Attorney General shall direct the Superintendent of State Police to promulgate a list of personalized handguns that may be sold in the State. This list shall identify those handguns by manufacturer, model and caliber.
b. The list required under subsection a. of this section shall be prepared within six months of the Attorney General's directive to the superintendent and a copy thereof made available to registered and licensed firearms dealers in this State. The superintendent may amend and supplement the list at such times as he deems appropriate. Registered and licensed retail firearms dealers in this State shall be notified forthwith of any such changes in the list. The notice shall be given in a manner prescribed by rule and regulation. The Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing a process for handgun manufacturers to request that their personalized handguns be added to this list.
4. (New section) a. On and after the first day of the sixth month following the preparation and delivery of the list of personalized handguns which may be sold in the State pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now pending before the Legislature as this bill), no person registered or licensed by the superintendent as a manufacturer, wholesale dealer of firearms, retail dealer of firearms or agent or employee of a wholesale or retail dealer of firearms pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-1 or N.J.S.2C:58-2 shall transport into this State, sell, expose for sale, possess with the intent of selling, assign or otherwise transfer any handgun unless it is a personalized handgun or an antique handgun.
b. The provisions of this section shall not apply to handguns to be sold, transferred, assigned and delivered for official use to: (1) State and local law enforcement officers of this State; (2) federal law enforcement officers and any other federal officers and employees required to carry firearms in the performance of their official duties; and (3) members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the National Guard.
c. A person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
5. 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, 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
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.
(cf: P.L.1999, c.255, s.1)
6. 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 three 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 seven 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;
(c) The handgun is unloaded and securely wrapped; [and]
(d) [The] Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (e) of this paragraph, the handgun is accompanied by a trigger lock or a locked case, gun box, container or other secure facility; provided, however, this provision shall not apply to antique handguns. The exemption afforded under this subparagraph for antique handguns shall be narrowly construed, limited solely to the requirements set forth herein and shall not be deemed to afford or authorize any other exemption from the regulatory provisions governing firearms set forth in chapter 39 and chapter 58 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes;
(e) On and after the first day of the sixth month following the date on which the list of personalized handguns is prepared and delivered pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill), the handgun is identified as a personalized handgun and included on that list or is an antique handgun. The provisions of subparagraph (d) of this section shall not apply to the delivery of a personalized handgun.
(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]whether a trigger lock, locked case, gun box, container or other secure facility 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 five 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 five 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.1999, c.233, s.5)
7. (New section) The Attorney General, in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.
8. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill regulates the future sale of handguns in New Jersey. The bill specifies that three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail purposes, it will be illegal for any registered or licensed firearms manufacturer or dealer to transport, sell, expose for sale, possess for sale, assign or transfer any handgun unless that handgun is a personalized handgun.
Personalized handguns, which commonly are referred to as "childproof" handguns, are defined in the bill as handguns that incorporate within their design, and as part of their original manufacture, technology which limits their operational use so that they can only be fired by an authorized or recognized user. The technology may involve a variety of systems, such as biometric, mechanical or electronic systems, which restrict the operation of the handgun through radio frequency tagging, touch memory, remote control, fingerprint, magnetic encoding or other automatic user identification programs. Retail dealers who violate the provisions of this bill would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months, or both.
To determine when personalized handguns are available for retail sales purposes, the Attorney General is to biannually report his findings to the Governor and the Legislature. The bill specifies that personalized handguns are to be deemed statutorily "available for retail sales purposes" whenever one manufacturer delivers one model of a personalized handgun to a wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state.
Two years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail sales purposes, the Attorney General is to direct the Superintendent of State Police to prepare a list of the personalized handguns that may be sold in New Jersey. The bill affords the superintendent six months in which to prepare the list and make it available to firearms dealers in the State. The personalized handguns that may be sold are to be identified on the list by manufacturer, model and caliber.
On the first day of the sixth month following the prepared list and its delivery to firearms dealers in the State, the sales restriction takes effect. Thereafter, only personalized handguns may be sold by registered and licensed firearms dealers in New Jersey.
The bill provides a limited exemption for antique handguns and replicas of such handguns.