New Jersey gun owners await Christie reprieve
Garden State advocates for restoring gun rights are white knuckling as Republican Gov. Christopher J. Christie decides how to game harsh gun legislation Democrats dropped in his in box.
“Over 100 pro-gun right supporters attended the Assembly Law and Public Safety committee hearing on March 13 and over 80 of us testified in great detail against the magazine capacity ban,” said Frank Jack Fiamingo, president of The New Jersey Second Amendment Society.
“We made our pleas, used our logic, used our reasoning, and they completely ignored us,” he siad. The legislation regulations on magazines makes thousands of gun owners a new clase of felons.
Within seconds and with little after-thought, the full assembly voted and passed by a partisan 46 to 31 margin a bill that reduces the lawful maximum capacity of ammunitions magazines from 15 rounds to 10 rounds, he said. “There’s no common sense, no logic, and no reason why the legislature should pass this bill.”
Having thousands of members and supporters, the Second Amendment society is a nonprofit organization that seeks to restore and preserve the right of the people of New Jersey to keep and bear arms for self-defense, hunting, competition, collecting, and recreation, he said
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) introduced the magazine capacity ban last year but was unable to persuade Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) to move the anti-gun measure to a committee hearing or senate vote until now, said Fiamingo.
“The bill did not go through last year because ‘Candidate for Senate Sweeney’ realizing it would be detrimental to him with lots of hunters and sportsman in his district, did not approve it, yet suddenly ‘Candidate for Governor Sweeney’ has a change-of-heart and decides to support limiting magazines to ten rounds.”
Promulgating further gun control, Sweeney and Greenwald entered into a deal to push this bill through the legislature and forward it to Republican Gov. Christopher J. Christie for signature, he said. “With both houses of the state legislature Democrat-controlled – the fix is in.”
Assuming office in January 2010, Christie became the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years.
Fiamingo said he personally believes Christie will veto the measure and since the Democrats do not have enough votes in the legislature to override a governor’s veto, the bill may not pass; however that will not stop NJ2AS from staying active and keeping people informed.
By definition the only people that will obey the law are law-abiding citizens, he said. “A magazine capacity limit of any kind, even the limit we have now at 15, is a bad idea.”
Gun bans place law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage, said Fiamingo. “Citizens will limit themselves to a 10-round or 15-round magazine, but what about the three thugs that are breaking into your home at 2 AM? They are armed with 30-round magazines.”
Nonsensical gun-control laws that do nothing to prevent violent crime, severely affect the rights of law-abiding citizens, he said. “There are quite a few hunters, sportsman and gun owners who have firearms with 15-round magazines.”
There is no provision or “grandfather clause” in the proposed law that determines what these gun owners are supposed to do with their firearms, he said. “If signed into law, an entire new class of formerly law-abiding citizens are now felons subject to 7 to 10 years in prison.”
Even the popular .22-caliber rifle would automatically become an ‘assault weapon’ and banned under the proposed law, he said. “The 22-caliber rifle has a fixed tube magazine above 10-rounds which is part of the firearm itself and is not removable.”
Another concern with the proposed law is the enforceability aspect, said Fiamingo.
“Who is going to enforce the magazine limit and how? Are they going to send police and troopers into my home for having a 15-round magazine?”
There is no good purpose in arresting people for doing nothing more than keeping something they freely purchased, he added.
It is a dangerous situation in-the-making for citizens and law enforcement – alike, he said.
“With police going into people’s homes and trying to take their property, it is inevitable that somebody is going to get hurt.”