After a lengthy hearing with testimony both from Second Amendment leaders and anti-gun activists and politicians, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee today took no action on A3494 (firearms license fee escalation); amended A3998 (.50 caliber gun ban) to exempt certain firearms; and passed the amended bill by a vote of 4-2, with the Chairman's recommendation that the bill be referred to another committee for further study and amendment.
The amendments that passed were the Committee's attempt to respond to some of the concerns raised by gun owners that the legislation would ban common hunting firearms and collectible historical guns. While the amendments appear to exempt some of these firearms (including certain in line muzzle loaders), the legislation is still badly flawed and bans numerous hunting and historical firearms in addition to the .50 bmg rifle and other modern guns.
Representatives of the Million Mom March, CeaseFire New Jersey, and the New Jersey Attorney General's office, among others, gave extensive testimony demonizing the .50 bmg as a threat to public safety.
Testifying against the gun ban legislation were ANJRPC President Scott Bach, ANJRPC Regional Vice President Bob Viden, and John Burtt, Chairman of the Fifty Caliber Institute, who was extensively questioned by Committee members. Additional written testimony was provided by the New Jersey Association of Firearms Retailers, an affiliate of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Two courageous Assemblymen voted to defeat A3998, and they are deserving of your appreciation. Please email, call or write to thank Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblyman Nelson Albano. Their contact information is as follows:
Brian Rumpf (Republican, 9th District)
Nelson Albano (Democrat, 1st District)
The other Assemblymen present, all of whom voted in favor of the gun ban, were Gordon Johnson, Jon Bramnick, Silverio Vega, and Peter J. Barnes, III.
Several Assemblymen commented that they received more than 700 letters and phone calls from gun owners in response to A3998.
ANJRPC and NRA will continue to monitor this legislation closely. Please watch for further updates and action alerts, and please stand ready to contact your legislators again when we sound the alarm.