The Tale of Two Bills (Not Clinton or Hickok)


Yesterday in Trenton we witnessed several things happen:

One was that the firearms owners of New Jersey had a definite affect on the final outcome of both of these bills (A588 and A1013).

Another is that if New Jersey firearms owners would come together as one unit we could shape the outcome of every election, every law change that affects firearms owners and maybe even get New Jersey to become a “Shall Issue” state.

Several people spoke opposing these bills, including Bob Viden (Owner of Bob’s Little Sport Shop in Glassboro, New Jersey, Vice President of the ANJRPC, NRA BOD), Scott Bach (President of ANJRPC), Frank Fiamingo (President of NJ2AS). These gentlemen are good at what they do; they spoke well and politely explained what is wrong with these bills.

Bill A588

This bill prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor. the primary sponsor of this bill is Grace L. Spencer (D) from District 29.

As we have heard, this bill would have given the New Jersey Attorney General, a un-elected official, unilateral decision-making power to ban any and all handgun ammunition that was considered a threat to safety and well being of law enforcement officers. Assemblywoman Spencer explained that she had two brothers who were officers in Newark, New Jersey, and she feared for their lives every day. Unless some of us heard wrong (and that could very well be) she also stated, that she would “like to see all handgun ammunition banned.”

Several of the Law & Public Safety Committee stated that the outpouring of email, phone calls, and faxes was overwhelming. Most of the committee asked intelligent, pointed questions and seemed to be well versed in the subject. Then again, some were not and asked questions like, “Why do people need guns that shoot this type of ammo?” The really ironic part about is that the type of ammo in question is already banned Federally and by the State of New Jersey.

This bill was held; the effect of holding A588 is to send it back to the drawing board for further review and amendment, and this legislation – that would have opened the door to a sweeping ammunition ban – will not advance in its present form.

Bill A1013

A1013 establishes “MarcAnthony’s Law,” which criminalizes the use of a defaced or stolen firearm to injure a police officer; it also enhances penalties for defacing a firearm. The primary sponsor of A1013 is Charles Mainor (D) – District 31 and Law and Public Safety Chair.

One provision of this law enforcement safety legislation significantly increases the penalties relating to “defaced” firearms. Because of New Jersey’s longstanding and poorly crafted definition of “defaced” firearms, it is possible that refinishing a firearm, or long-term damage from rust or scratches from ordinary wear and tear, could be deemed “defacement,” allowing honest gun owners to be given lengthy prison sentences, even though identifying information on the firearm is still legible.

Bill A1013 was amended in response to gun owner concerns. The amendments to A1013 are still under review, but it is very apparent from the actions of the Committee and the on-the-record statements made by its members that the Committee has heard honest gun owners loud and clear.

Congratulations to everyone involved. It was definitely a team effort, and it absolutely goes to show how effective and affecting we can be if we all stand together.