By Dari Kotzker
Seven bills strengthening gun laws in New Jersey were approved today in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. Today was the second day of hearings this week dealing with an array of gun bills. Unlike the packed house at Tuesday’s hearing, with more than 250 gun advocates, today was much more low-key with minimal cheering and no outbursts.
One of the more controversial bills today was the proposed ban the sale of .50 caliber Barrett rifle. Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, says he owns one, and they cost approximately $10,000 to $15,000 to purchase, so it’s mostly hobbyists who own them. He reiterated that someone who wants to do evil will find a way to do evil, so law abiding gun owners shouldn’t be penalized. Although it passed, this was the only bill that did not get unanimous approval, with Republican Sen. Kip Bateman voting against it.
The other bill, which gun advocates were in favor of and did pass, was allowing gun owners to transport firearms to and from a firing range to make stops for specific purposes such as purchasing gasoline, using a restroom or dealing with an emergency situation. Gun advocates said this bill is needed because owners have been arrested and jailed for hyper-technical violations.
The committee also approved a series of bills that would crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases, set reporting requirements to trace weapon transactions and provide parents with practical information to limit their children’s exposure to violence in the media. Two bills that would prohibit state investments in companies that manufacture guns that are banned in New Jersey or in firms that make, import or sell assault rifles for civilian use will be voted on by the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee next week.
Two bills that would prohibit state investments in companies that manufacture guns that are banned in New Jersey or in firms that make, import or sell assault rifles for civilian use will be voted on by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee next week. The full Senate will vote on the bills May 13.