SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
ASSEMBLY, No. 2761
with committee amendments
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: MAY 21, 2018
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 2761 (2R), with committee amendments.
As amended, this bill bans firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Magazines capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition currently are legal in New Jersey.
Specifically, the bill revises the definition of a “large capacity ammunition magazine” to include any box, drum, tube, or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The bill also designates a semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds as a prohibited assault firearm.
Under the bill, a person who legally owns a firearm with either a fixed magazine capacity holding up to 15 rounds which is incapable of being modified to accommodate less rounds, or a firearm which only accepts a detachable magazine with a capacity of up to 15 rounds, and the firearm was purchased on or prior to the bill’s effective date would be allowed to retain possession of that firearm provided it is registered with a law enforcement agency. In order to register the firearm, a person would be required to produce a valid firearms purchaser identification card, permit to carry a handgun, or permit to purchase a handgun. The information provided in the registration statement is to include: the name and address of the registrant; the number or numbers on the registrant's firearms purchaser identification card, permit to carry a handgun, or permit to purchase a handgun; and the make, model, and serial number of the firearm being registered. An heir or estate of an owner of a registered firearm would have 90 days after the owner’s death to dispose of the firearm.
The bill also permits retired police officers authorized to possess and carry a handgun in this State to continue to possess and carry a magazine capable of holding up to 15 rounds.
In addition, the bill exempts from the 10-round limitation those semi-automatic rifles which have an attached tubular magazine and which are capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. This exemption would permit the sale and possession of a popular beginner gun, the Marlin Model 60, often referred to as the “Boy Scout gun.” These firearms are low caliber and the tubular magazine cannot be quickly reloaded.
The bill also exempts large capacity ammunition magazines under the control of a federal firearms license holder and reconfigured to fire blank ammunition for motion pictures, television, or video productions.
The bill makes its provisions effective immediately, but allows for a 180-day grace period to transfer or voluntarily surrender a semi-automatic rifle or magazine that will be unlawful under the bill.
A person also would have the option to render a semi-automatic rifle or magazine inoperable or permanently modify a magazine to accept 10 rounds or less. Under the Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.13:54-1.2), a person may permanently alter a magazine so that it is excluded from the current legal definition of a “large capacity ammunition magazine.” An ammunition magazine, which has been temporarily blocked or modified, as by a piece of wood or a pin, is still considered to be a “large capacity ammunition magazine.”
As amended and reported, this bill is identical to Senate Bill No. 102 (1R), as also amended and reported by the committee.
The committee amendments remove a requirement to pay a $50 fee to register certain firearms with a magazine that exceeds the 10-round limit.
The OLS estimates the bill may increase State revenues and expenditures by indeterminate amounts, and may also cause local revenues and expenditures to increase by indeterminate amounts.
In revising the definition of semi-automatic rifles considered to be an assault firearm as those with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rather than 15 rounds, the possession of such weapons, if unlicensed or unregistered, is a second degree crime. Since a crime of the second degree is punishable by five to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $150,000, or both, the bill may cause indeterminate additional court and criminal prosecution costs to the State (Judicial and Executive branch) and localities, indeterminate increased costs of incarceration to the Department of Corrections, and indeterminate additional revenue from court-imposed fines.
In revising the definition of large capacity ammunition magazines as containers capable of holding more than 10 rather than 15 rounds, the bill makes possession of these magazines, if unregistered, a crime of the fourth degree. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Accordingly, the bill may cause State revenues from fine collections to increase by indeterminate amounts, and may cause indeterminate additional court and criminal prosecution costs to the State (Judicial and Executive branch) and localities