STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Assemblyman MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Assemblywoman ALISON LITTELL MCHOSE
District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)
Permits possession of certain types of ammunition.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning firearms and amending N.J.S.2C:39-2, N.J.S.2C:39-3 and N.J.S.2C:39-4.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.2C:39-2 is amended to read as follows:
2C:39-2. a. Possession of firearms, weapons, destructive devices, silencers, or explosives in a vehicle. When a firearm, weapon, destructive device, silencer, or explosive described in this chapter is found in a vehicle, it is presumed to be in the possession of the occupant if there is but one. If there is more than one occupant in the vehicle, it shall be presumed to be in the possession of all, except under the following circumstances:
(1) When it is found upon the person of one of the occupants, it shall be presumed to be in the possession of that occupant alone;
(2) When the vehicle is not a stolen one and the weapon or other instrument is found out of view in a glove compartment, trunk or other enclosed customary depository, it shall be presumed to be in the possession of the occupant or occupants who own or have authority to operate the vehicle; and
(3) When the vehicle is a taxicab and a weapon or other instrument is found in the passenger's portion of the vehicle, it shall be presumed to be in the possession of all the passengers, if there are any, and if not, in the possession of the driver.
b. [Licenses and permits. When the legality of a person's conduct under this chapter depends on his possession of a license or permit or on his having registered with or given notice to a particular person or agency, it shall be presumed that he does not possess such a license or permit or has not registered or given the required notice, until he establishes the contrary.] (Deleted by amendment, PL. , c. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill).
(cf: P.L.1979, c.179, s.1)
2. N.J.S.2C:39-3 is amended to read as follows:
2C:39-3. Prohibited Weapons and Devices.
a. Destructive devices. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any destructive device is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
b. Sawed-off shotguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any sawed-off shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
c. Silencers. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm silencer is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
d. Defaced firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm which has been defaced, except an antique firearm or an antique handgun, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
e. Certain weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, metal knuckle, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
f. [Dum-dum or body] Body armor penetrating bullets. (1) [Any person, other than a law enforcement officer or persons engaged in activities pursuant to subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-6, who knowingly has in his possession any hollow nose or dum-dum bullet, or] (Deleted by amendment, PL. , c. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill). (2) any person, other than a collector of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, United States Code, section 921 (a) (13) and has in his possession a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who knowingly has in his possession any body armor breaching or penetrating ammunition, which means: (a) ammunition primarily designed for use in a handgun, and (b) which is comprised of a bullet whose core or jacket, if the jacket is thicker than .025 of an inch, is made of tungsten carbide, or hard bronze, or other material which is harder than a rating of 72 or greater on the Rockwell B. Hardness Scale, and (c) is therefore capable of breaching or penetrating body armor, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. For purposes of this section, a collector may possess not more than three examples of each distinctive variation of the ammunition described above. A distinctive variation includes a different head stamp, composition, design, or color.
g. Exceptions. (1) Nothing in subsection a., b., c., d., e., f., j. or k. of this section shall apply to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or except as otherwise provided, to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty, provided that his possession of the prohibited weapon or device has been duly authorized under the applicable laws, regulations or military or law enforcement orders. Nothing in subsection h. of this section shall apply to any law enforcement officer who is exempted from the provisions of that subsection by the Attorney General. Nothing in this section shall apply to the possession of any weapon or device by a law enforcement officer who has confiscated, seized or otherwise taken possession of said weapon or device as evidence of the commission of a crime or because he believed it to be possessed illegally by the person from whom it was taken, provided that said law enforcement officer promptly notifies his superiors of his possession of such prohibited weapon or device.
(2) a. [Nothing in subsection f. (1) shall be construed to prevent a person from keeping such ammunition at his dwelling, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, or from carrying such ammunition from the place of purchase to said dwelling or land, nor shall subsection f. (1) be construed to prevent any licensed retail or wholesale firearms dealer from possessing such ammunition at its licensed premises, provided that the seller of any such ammunition shall maintain a record of the name, age and place of residence of any purchaser who is not a licensed dealer, together with the date of sale and quantity of ammunition sold.] (Deleted by amendment, PL. , c. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill).
b. Nothing in subsection f.(1) shall be construed to prevent a designated employee or designated licensed agent for a nuclear power plant under the license of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from possessing hollow nose ammunition while in the actual performance of his official duties, if the federal licensee certifies that the designated employee or designated licensed agent is assigned to perform site protection, guard, armed response or armed escort duties and is appropriately trained and qualified, as prescribed by federal regulation, to perform those duties.
(3) Nothing in paragraph (2) of subsection f. or in subsection j. shall be construed to prevent any licensed retail or wholesale firearms dealer from possessing that ammunition or large capacity ammunition magazine at its licensed premises for sale or disposition to another licensed dealer, the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or to a law enforcement agency, provided that the seller maintains a record of any sale or disposition to a law enforcement agency. The record shall include the name of the purchasing agency, together with written authorization of the chief of police or highest ranking official of the agency, the name and rank of the purchasing law enforcement officer, if applicable, and the date, time and amount of ammunition sold or otherwise disposed. A copy of this record shall be forwarded by the seller to the Superintendent of the Division of State Police within 48 hours of the sale or disposition.
(4) Nothing in subsection a. of this section shall be construed to apply to antique cannons as exempted in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:39-6.
(5) Nothing in subsection c. of this section shall be construed to apply to any person who is specifically identified in a special deer management permit issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to utilize a firearm silencer as part of an alternative deer control method implemented in accordance with a special deer management permit issued pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2000, c.46 (C.23:4-42.6), while the person is in the actual performance of the permitted alternative deer control method and while going to and from the place where the permitted alternative deer control method is being utilized. This exception shall not, however, otherwise apply to any person to authorize the purchase or possession of a firearm silencer.
h. Stun guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any stun gun is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
i. Nothing in subsection e. of this section shall be construed to prevent any guard in the employ of a private security company, who is licensed to carry a firearm, from the possession of a nightstick when in the actual performance of his official duties, provided that he has satisfactorily completed a training course approved by the Police Training Commission in the use of a nightstick.
j. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a large capacity ammunition magazine is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree unless the person has registered an assault firearm pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c.32 (C.2C:58-12) and the magazine is maintained and used in connection with participation in competitive shooting matches sanctioned by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship of the United States Department of the Army.
k. Handcuffs. Any person who knowingly has in his possession handcuffs as defined in P.L.1991, c.437 (C.2C:39-9.2), under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as handcuffs may have, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. A law enforcement officer shall confiscate handcuffs possessed in violation of the law.
(cf: P.L. 2003, c.168. s.1)
3. N.J.S.2C:39-4 is amended to read as follows:
2C:39-4. Possession of weapons for unlawful purposes.
a. Firearms. (1) Any person who has in his possession any firearm and ammunition with a purpose to use [it] them unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
(2) Any person who possesses, receives or transfers a community gun is guilty of a crime of the second degree and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater and during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. As used in this paragraph, "community gun" means a firearm that is transferred among, between or within any association of two or more persons who, while possessing that firearm, engage in criminal activity or use it unlawfully against the person or property of another.
b. Explosives. Any person who has in his possession or carries any explosive substance with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
c. Destructive devices. Any person who has in his possession any destructive device with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
d. Other weapons. Any person who has in his possession any weapon, except a firearm, with a purpose to use it unlawfully gainst the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
e. Imitation firearms. Any person who has in his possession an imitation firearm under circumstances that would lead an observer to reasonably believe that it is possessed for an unlawful purpose is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
(cf: P.L.2007, c.24, s.1)
4. This act shall take effect immediately.
New Jersey's laws regulating the possession of firearms and ammunition by otherwise law-abiding persons are confusing to most citizens and law enforcement officers. This bill is intended to remove some of this confusion. The bill eliminates the statutory prohibition against the possession of "hollow point" and "dum-dum" ammunition. New Jersey's current prohibition includes an exemption so that a person may purchase this ammunition and transport it to his dwelling. This exemption is confusing to law enforcement officers and the public alike. While many people have been arrested and prosecuted for the mere possession of "hollow point" ammunition in New Jersey, such ammunition is unrestricted in virtually all other states.
Many common types of hunting, target and self defense ammunition have a "hollow point" or "nose." In the case of self defense ammunition, this hollow "nose," which causes the bullet to expand upon impact, makes for a safer projectile since the likelihood of a ricochet is minimized. Hollow nosed target ammunition is generally considered more accurate at long ranges than other types of ammunition.
Under the provisions of this bill, individuals would be permitted to possess "hollow point" and "dum-dum" ammunition for lawful purposes.
The bill establishes enhanced penalties for individuals who possess ammunition for an unlawful purpose. At present, the possession of "hollow point" or "dum-dum" ammunition outside of certain narrow parameters is a crime of the fourth degree. This bill provides that an individual who possesses ammunition for an unlawful purpose would be guilty of a crime of the second degree.
Finally, the bill deletes subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-2 which provided that with regard to any firearm permit or license, an individual was deemed in violation of the law "until he establishes the contrary." This approach is inconsistent with traditional American legal jurisprudence and, consequently, should be ended.