Possession of 11+ Round Magazines are now a Felony in NJ; Former Officers are Exempt; New Term ‘Assault Firearm’

  • NJ Magazine Limit is Officially 10 Rounds
  • 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Ruled in Favor of the new Limit
  • Former Police Officers are Exempt from the new Limit

Six months ago, Governor Phil Murphy signed S102 into law. This bill amends N.J.S.2C:39-1 which is the state’s statute dictating what type of firearms are legal for residents to own. Prior to the signing, the NJ magazine limit stood at 15 rounds. However, likely in response to the Parkland shooting, state lawmakers redefined “High Capacity Magazines” to mean anything larger than 10 rounds, thus outlawing what was once the standard magazine size throughout the state. Typical standard magazine capacity is 30 rounds nationwide.

While the bill was signed 6 months ago, there was a 180 day grace period for legal gun owners to dispose of their 15 round magazines. The ban officially went into effect December 11th. Prior to this, every new firearm, with few exceptions, came with a magazine that exceeded the new maximum capacity. This means anyone who did not turn over or destroy their magazine stashes are now guilty of a 4th degree felony.

This law has been challenged, but in a 2-1 decision, the 3rd District Court of Appeals denied the claim as an infringement on the 2nd Amendment. Further appeals are planned. The objective of the bill was to limit casualties during mass shootings, inspired by the tragedy at Parkland last February, which motivated many to push new gun control measures. The Parkland shooter, however, used exclusively 10 round magazines.

There are some who can get around this new ban. Former police officers are exempt from the ban and are allowed to possess handgun magazines with up to 15 rounds. Certain .22 rifles with nondetachable magazines are also exempt.

A little used term can also be found in this bill. We are all familiar with the terms “assault rifle,” which means any fully automatic rifle commonly used in the military. Recently we were introduced to “assault weapon,” which are semi-automatic rifles that mimics military weapons in an arbitrary way. These designations are purely based on aesthetic characteristics. The NJ firearm code characterizes all non-lethal weapons as “Assault Firearms.” This new term lumps handguns and shotguns with illegal rifles creating a blanket term for weapons the state wishes to ban. The legislature indicates that there will be more gun control measures to come.

Categories: U.S. News

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