If you listen to the clamor of the pro-gun proliferation crowd, you would think that the New Jersey General Assembly just passed 22 bills that usurp our Second Amendment rights. While I respect their concerns and their right to express them, this is far from the truth.
Of the 22 bills passed, almost one-third of them were passed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, receiving 70 or more votes in the 80-member chamber. Some are non-controversial “feel good” measures like expressions of support for the gun buyback program, and one (exempting gun records from the Open Public Records Act) was even initiated by Republicans. But probably to the dismay of the most ardent gun advocates, a few of these bipartisan bills have some teeth, including the prohibition of body-armor penetrating ammunition and the submittal of certain mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Both of these bills garnered 71 “yes” votes.
Of course, there were more contentious bills, all passed by the Democratic majority with little or no GOP support. Republicans voted against things like background checks for private gun sales, mandatory safety training and renewal of firearm purchaser ID cards every five years.
While Governor Christie has issued some snarky remarks about these initiatives, he has not yet indicated how he will handle these bills if and when they get to his desk. The Senate is scheduled to take up these bills in April, and there are several Democrats who are adverse to additional gun safety legislation. But assuming the seven bills that passed the Assembly with an overwhelming majority get to the Governor’s desk, he is likely to sign them. That would give him political cover, allowing him to pontificate that he is all for gun safety, while at the same time vetoing the remainder of the bills to shore up his Conservative base.
Below the fold: The list of bills that were passed last week, and the vote counts.