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State Legislators Pass Package Of Gun Control Measures

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State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, speaks to protestors at Saturday's rally in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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TRENTON, NJ -– The Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018 - which authorizes new protective orders against those who pose a significant danger by either possessing or purchasing a firearm -  was one of several gun control measures passed by state legislators yesterday.

The Assembly bill was approved by a vote of 59-13- with 5 abstentions.

The flurry of votes came less than 48 hours after millions of Americans, including several hundred at a rally in Somerville, protested against gun violence following the Valentine’s Day school shootings in Parkland, Fla that killed 17 students and staff.

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One of the co-sponsors of the bill is Andrew Zwicker, D-16th,

 “This bill provides a sensible process that protects the rights of lawful gun owners while allowing concerned family members to take action when there are ‘red flags’ that indicate a gun owner poses a serious risk to others,” Zwicker said. “This is the right thing to do, and I’m certain it will save lives.”

The bill would prohibit the person in question from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun and permit to carry a firearm.

The bill establishes a process and procedures for obtaining a protective order against persons who pose a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm.  

The order would prohibit that person from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, and permit to carry a handgun.

Legislators voted on other gun control measures yesterday, including:

- A bill that would prohibit the possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor; it cleared the Assembly by a vote of 75-0, with one abstension;

- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald and Assemblymen Jamel Holley and Paul Moriarty aimed at ensuring strong gun safety regulations are codified into law in New Jersey was advanced through the Assembly during Monday’s voting session. The bill aims to prevent a future governor from attempting to weaken the regulations.

“New Jersey’s gun safety laws are among the strongest in the nation and we must keep them that way,’ said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “Overturning these unsafe regulations has been a top priority of mine. While I commend Governor Murphy for doing the right thing to keep our streets safe and ensure laws are enforced as intended, we need to make sure that no future governor can attempt to carelessly weaken our gun safety laws.”

The bill would codify the definition of “justifiable need,” presently outlined only in state regulations, into state statute.

- Another bill sponsored by Greenwald and Assemblymen Jamel Holley and Paul Moriarty to improve gun safety by requiring background checks for private gun sales also advanced through the Assembly..

“Requiring a licensee to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of a handgun, rifle or shotgun is just plain common sense,” said Greenwald. “It’s shocking that we don’t do this already, but we are fixing this gaping loophole with this bill to make us all safer.”

“This is an idea everyone should support,” said Holley (D-Union). “We can fix this and both protect the public and the rights of law-abiding citizens who have nothing to fear from a background check. This will make for a safer New Jersey.”

The bill requires all sales or other transfers of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to be conducted through a retail dealer licensed under state law or a federal firearms licensee. 

The licensee would be required to complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the handgun, rifle or shotgun.

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