SENATE, No. 2239

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 8, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Prohibits possession of firearm by person convicted of animal cruelty.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning the possession of firearms and amending P.L.1979, c.179 and N.J.S.2C:58-3.

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† Section 6 of P.L.1979, c.179 (C.2C:39-7) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 6.††† Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons.

†††† a.†††† Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, any person, having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of the crime of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1 [or], endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4, any crime or offense constituting animal cruelty enumerated under chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, whether or not armed with or having in his possession any weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, or any person convicted of a crime pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:39-3, N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J.S.2C:39-9, or any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless he possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that he is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps him in the handling of a firearm, or any person who has been convicted of other than a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2 who purchases, owns, possesses or controls any [of the said weapons] weapon is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.†

†††† b.††† (1) A person having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of the crime of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1, endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4, stalking pursuant to P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10) or a crime involving domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19), whether or not armed with or having in his possession a weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, or a person having been convicted of a crime pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:35-3 through N.J.S.2C:35-6, inclusive; section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7); N.J.S.2C:35-11; N.J.S.2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4; or N.J.S.2C:39-9 who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree and upon conviction thereof, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court.† The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term, which shall be fixed at five years, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.† If the defendant is sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7, the extended term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term, which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or five years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

†††† (2)†† A person having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of a disorderly persons offense† involving domestic violence, whether or not armed with or having in his possession a weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

†††† (3)†† A person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned, or who is subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms issued pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree, except that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.

†††† c.†††† Whenever any person shall have been convicted in another state, territory, commonwealth or other jurisdiction of the United States, or any country in the world, in a court of competent jurisdiction, of a crime which in said other jurisdiction or country is comparable to one of the crimes enumerated in subsection a. or b. of this section, then that person shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.277, s.3)

 

†††† 2.††† N.J.S.2C:58-3 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 2C:58-3.† a. †Permit to purchase a handgun.† [No] A person shall not sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of, [nor] or receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver, or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or has first secured a permit to purchase a handgun as provided by this section.

†††† b.††† Firearms purchaser identification card.† [No] A person shall not sell, give, transfer, assign, or otherwise dispose of [nor] , or receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun, other than an antique rifle or shotgun, unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver, or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, and first exhibits the card to the seller, donor, transferor, or assignor, and unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver, or holder signs a written certification, on a form prescribed by the superintendent, which shall indicate that [he presently] the person currently complies with the requirements of subsection c. of this section and shall contain [his] the personís name, address, and firearms purchaser identification card number or dealer's registration number.† The certification shall be retained by the seller, as provided in paragraph (4) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:58-2, or, in the case of a person who is not a dealer, it may be filed with the chief of police of the municipality in which [he] the person resides or with the superintendent.

†††† c.†††† Who may obtain.† [No] A person of good character and good repute in the community in which [he] the person lives, and who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this section or other sections of this chapter, shall not be denied a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card, except as hereinafter set forth.† [No] A handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall not be issued:

†††† (1)†† To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) or animal cruelty enumerated under chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, whether or not armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of the offense;

†††† (2)†† To any drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2), to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any alcoholic or alcohol dependent person [who is presently an habitual drunkard];

†††† (3)†† To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for [him] the person to handle firearms, to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that [he] the person is no longer suffering from that particular disability in a manner that would interfere with or handicap [him] the person in the handling of firearms; to any person who knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;

†††† (4)†† To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;

†††† (5)†† To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety, or welfare;

†††† (6)†† To any person who is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm;

†††† (7)†† To any person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive, or destructive device or is enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2);

†††† (8)†† To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned; or

†††† (9)†† To any person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

†††† d.††† Issuance.† The chief of police of an organized full-time police department of the municipality where the applicant resides or the superintendent, in all other cases, shall upon application, issue to any person qualified under the provisions of subsection c. of this section a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card.

†††† Any person aggrieved by the denial of a permit or identification card may request a hearing in the Superior Court of the county in which [he] the person resides if [he] the person is a resident of New Jersey or in the Superior Court of the county in which [his] the personís application was filed if [he] the person is a nonresident.† The request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 30 days of the denial of the application for a permit or identification card.† The applicant shall serve a copy of [his] this request for a hearing upon the chief of police of the municipality in which [he] the person resides, if [he] the person is a resident of New Jersey, and upon the superintendent in all cases.† The hearing shall be held and a record made thereof within 30 days of the receipt of the application for a hearing by the judge of the Superior Court.† [No] A formal pleading and [no] filing fee shall not be required as a preliminary to a hearing.† Appeals from the results of a hearing shall be in accordance with law.

†††† e.†††† Applications.† Applications for permits to purchase a handgun and for firearms purchaser identification cards shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth the name, residence, place of business, age, date of birth, occupation, sex, and physical description, including distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the applicant, and shall state whether the applicant is a citizen, whether [he] the person is an alcoholic, [habitual drunkard] alcohol dependent person, drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2), whether [he] the person has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim, or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of confinement or commitment, whether [he] the person has been attended, treated, or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital, or institution and the dates of the occurrence, whether [he] the person [presently] currently or ever has been a member of any organization which advocates or approves the commission of acts of force and violence to overthrow the Government of the United States or of this State, or which seeks to deny others their rights under the Constitution of either the United States or the State of New Jersey, whether [he] the person has ever been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense, whether the person has ever been convicted of any crime or offense constituting animal cruelty pursuant to chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes, whether the person is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm, and other information as the superintendent shall deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter.† For the purpose of complying with this subsection, the applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.† The application shall be signed by the applicant and shall contain as references the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with [him] the applicant.

†††† Application blanks shall be obtainable from the superintendent, from any other officer authorized to grant a permit or identification card, and from licensed retail dealers.

†††† The chief police officer or the superintendent shall obtain the fingerprints of the applicant and shall have them compared with any and all records of fingerprints in the municipality and county in which the applicant resides and also the records of the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, provided that an applicant for a handgun purchase permit who possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, or who has previously obtained a handgun purchase permit from the same licensing authority for which [he] the person was previously fingerprinted, and who provides other reasonably satisfactory proof of [his] the personís identity, need not be fingerprinted again; however, the chief police officer or the superintendent shall proceed to investigate the application to determine whether or not the applicant has become subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this chapter.

†††† f.†††† Granting of permit or identification card; fee; term; renewal; revocation.† The application for the permit to purchase a handgun together with a fee of $2, or the application for the firearms purchaser identification card together with a fee of $5, shall be delivered or forwarded to the licensing authority who shall investigate the same and, unless good cause for the denial thereof appears, shall grant the permit or the identification card, or both, if application has been made therefor, within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application for residents of this State and within 45 days for nonresident applicants.† A permit to purchase a handgun shall be valid for a period of 90 days from the date of issuance and may be renewed by the issuing authority for good cause for an additional 90 days.† A firearms purchaser identification card shall be valid until such time as the holder becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of this section, whereupon the card shall be void and shall be returned within five days by the holder to the superintendent, who shall then advise the licensing authority.† Failure of the holder to return the firearms purchaser identification card to the superintendent within the five days shall be an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-10.† Any firearms purchaser identification card may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county wherein the card was issued, after hearing upon notice, upon a finding that the holder thereof no longer qualifies for the issuance of the permit.† The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality or any citizen may apply to the court at any time for the revocation of the card.

†††† There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.

†††† g.††† Disposition of fees.† All fees for permits shall be paid to the [State] Department of the Treasury if the permit is issued by the superintendent, to the municipality if issued by the chief of police, and to the county treasurer if issued by the judge of the Superior Court.

†††† h.††† Form of permit; quadruplicate; disposition of copies. The permit shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall be issued to the applicant in quadruplicate.† Prior to the time [he] the applicant receives the handgun from the seller, the applicant shall deliver to the seller the permit in quadruplicate and the seller shall complete all of the information required on the form.† Within five days of the date of the sale, the seller shall forward the original copy to the superintendent and the second copy to the chief of police of the municipality in which the purchaser resides, except that in a municipality having no chief of police, the copy shall be forwarded to the superintendent.† The third copy shall then be returned to the purchaser with the pistol or revolver and the fourth copy shall be kept by the seller as a permanent record.

†††† i.†††† Restriction on number of firearms person may purchase. Only one handgun shall be purchased or delivered on each permit and no more than one handgun shall be purchased within any 30-day period, but this limitation shall not apply to:

†††† (1)†† a federal, State, or local law enforcement officer or agency purchasing handguns for use by officers in the actual performance of their law enforcement duties;

†††† (2)†† a collector of handguns as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, United States Code, section 921 (a) (13) who [has in his possession] possesses a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;†

†††† (3)†† transfers of handguns among licensed retail dealers, registered wholesale dealers and registered manufacturers;

†††† (4)†† transfers of handguns from any person to a licensed retail dealer or a registered wholesale dealer or registered manufacturer;

†††† (5)†† any transaction where the person has purchased a handgun from a licensed retail dealer and has returned that handgun to the dealer in exchange for another handgun within 30 days of the original transaction, provided the retail dealer reports the exchange transaction to the superintendent; or

†††† (6)†† any transaction where the superintendent issues an exemption from the prohibition in this subsection pursuant to the provisions of section 4 of P.L.2009, c.186 (C.2C:58-3.4).

†††† The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed 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;

†††† A person shall not be restricted as to the number of rifles or shotguns [he] the person may purchase, provided [he] the person possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card and provided further that [he] the person signs the certification required in subsection b. of this section for each transaction.

†††† j.†††† Firearms passing to heirs or legatees.† Notwithstanding any other provision of this section concerning the transfer, receipt or acquisition of a firearm, a permit to purchase or a firearms purchaser identification card shall not be required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to [his] the ownerís heir or legatee, whether the same be by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy.† The person who shall [so] receive, or acquire the firearm shall, however, be subject to all other provisions of this chapter. If the heir or legatee of the firearm does not qualify to possess or carry it, [he] the heir or legatee may retain ownership of the firearm for the purpose of sale for a period not exceeding 180 days, or for a further limited period as may be approved by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the heir or legatee resides or the superintendent, provided that the firearm is in the custody of the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the superintendent during that period.

†††† k.††† Sawed-off shotguns.† Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the purchase or possession of any sawed-off shotgun.

†††† l.†††† Nothing in this section and in N.J.S.2C:58-2 shall apply to the sale or purchase of a visual distress [signalling] signaling device approved by the United States Coast Guard, solely for possession on a private or commercial aircraft or any boat; provided, however, that [no] a person under the age of 18 years shall not purchase [nor shall any] , and a person shall not sell to a person under the age of 18 years, a visual distress [signalling] signaling device.

†††† m.†† The provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section and paragraphs (4) and (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:58-2 shall not apply to the purchase of firearms by a law enforcement agency for use by law enforcement officers in the actual performance of the officers' official duties, which purchase may be made directly from a manufacturer or from a licensed dealer located in this State or any other state.

(cf: P.L.2016, c.74, s.1)

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill prohibits a person convicted of any crime or offense constituting animal cruelty from possessing a firearm and from being issued a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun.

†††† Current law provides that a person who is convicted of certain crimes is prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm.† These offenses include, but are not limited to, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, homicide, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and certain animal cruelty crimes, such as dog fighting, harming or killing a law enforcement animal, and harming or killing a service animal or guide dog.† The bill provides that a person who has been convicted of any animal cruelty offense also would be prohibited from possessing a firearm.† Under the bill, an animal cruelty offense includes various acts constituting animal cruelty such as animal abuse, as set forth in chapter 22 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.† A violation of the billís provisions would be a fourth degree crime. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

†††† Additionally, the bill disqualifies a person who has been convicted of an animal cruelty offense from being issued a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun.