LEGISLATIVE FISCAL ESTIMATE

[Second Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 4218

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

DATED: JUNE 24, 2015

 

 

SUMMARY

 

 

Synopsis:

Revises certain laws concerning domestic violence and firearms.

Type of Impact:

Indeterminate State, County, and Municipal Expenditure Increase.

Agencies Affected:

Department of Law and Public Safety; Administrative Office of the Courts; Division of State Police; County and Municipal Law Enforcement.

 

Office of Legislative Services Estimate

Fiscal Impact

Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

 

State and Local Cost

Indeterminate – See comments below

 

 

 

 

·         The Office of Legislative Services anticipates increased costs to the court system, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies to administer enhanced protection for victims of domestic violence, but lacks sufficient information to quantify the increases in State and local government costs.

·         Law enforcement agencies are required to make a reasonable search of available records of firearm ownership prior to the issuance of a restraining order. Records of firearm ownership include permits to purchase handguns, firearm purchaser identification cards, and handgun sales.

·         Law enforcement entities are to receive, inventory, store, and dispose of surrendered firearms. Law enforcement may charge the defendant to offset the cost of storage of the firearms.

·         The courts are required to develop a system for notifying the appropriate authorities that a person has been convicted of a domestic violence offense or that a domestic violence restraining order has been issued against a person.


BILL DESCRIPTION

 

      Assembly Bill No. 4218 (2R) of 2015 enhances protections currently afforded victims of domestic violence by requiring attackers to surrender their firearms while domestic violence restraining orders are in effect or when they are convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense.

      The bill also requires firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase handguns to be revoked if the holder of the card or permit is convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense. The bill further requires cross-referencing of records to assist in determining whether the alleged attacker owns a firearm and in removing those firearms.

      The bill requires the prosecutor, prior to returning a firearm seized at the scene of a domestic violence incident, to inform the victim of the availability of restraining orders and the ability to seek revocation of the accused person’s card or permit.

      The bill revises the law regarding defendants convicted of domestic violence crimes and offenses by:

·         Permitting the court to order a search for and removal of firearms if there is probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender firearms and requiring the court to state with specificity the reasons for and the scope of the search and seizure.

 

      The bill revises the laws governing temporary and final restraining orders issued pursuant to the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991” by:

·         Requiring the court to order the appropriate law enforcement agency to make a reasonable search of records of firearm ownership before issuing a temporary or final restraining order.

 

      Current law governing firearms licensing requirements is revised by:

·         Requiring a law enforcement officer or prosecutor in possession of any firearms, cards, or permits surrendered or removed in whole or in part because of domestic violence to prepare an inventory of these items, cross-reference the inventory with records of firearm ownership, and if there are discrepancies, take appropriate action to ensure the defendant does not have access to a firearm.

 

 

FISCAL ANALYSIS

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

      None received.

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

 

      The Office of Legislative Services anticipates increased costs to the court system, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies to administer enhanced protection for victims of domestic violence, but lacks sufficient information to quantify the increases in State and local government costs.

      Courts are required to develop a system for notifying the appropriate authorities of a convicted offender’s surrender of identification cards and permits, and, upon motion of the prosecutor, if the court finds probable cause issue a search warrant to remove firearms that have not been surrendered.

      Law enforcement officers, or their agencies, are to receive, inventory, store, and dispose of surrendered firearms. They are to check the inventory of surrendered firearms against the records of those who have surrendered them to identify any firearms retained and conduct searches, if any, for unsurrendered firearms identified by comparing the inventory with the records. Law enforcement may charge the defendant to offset the cost of storage of the firearms.

      The law enforcement agencies are to make a reasonable search of records of firearm ownership prior to the issuance of a restraining order, and the agency is to search the central registry of domestic violence reports as part of the investigation of the background of an applicant for identification cards and permits.

      The New Jersey Domestic Violence Offense Report issued by the Department of Law and Public Safety is an annual report based on the domestic violence offense reports submitted to the New Jersey Uniform Crime Reporting System by every New Jersey law enforcement agency.  The most recent report available is from calendar year 2012. According to the report, there were 65,060 domestic violence offenses reported by law enforcement in 2012, a seven percent decrease compared to the 70,311 reported in 2011. Of those 2012 offenses, 128 involved a firearm which is a five percent increase from 2011.

      The report noted further that there were 2,564 total arrests involving domestic violence restraining orders reported by police in 2012. Of these, 1,483 were arrests for violations of a restraining order only, while 1,081 were arrests for violations of a restraining order with an offense arrest.

 

 

Section:

Law and Public Safety Section

Analyst:

Kristin Brunner Santos

Senior Fiscal Analyst

Approved:

David J. Rosen

Legislative Budget and Finance Officer

 

 

This legislative fiscal estimate has been produced by the Office of Legislative Services due to the failure of the Executive Branch to respond to our request for a fiscal note.

 

This fiscal estimate has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67 (C.52:13B-6 et seq.).