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(Trenton) - The Assembly advanced today bipartisan legislation that would require all private sales of handguns, rifles, and shotguns to be conducted with a licensed retail dealer under state law after completing a National Instant Criminal Background Check on the recipient of the firearm. The bill is sponsored in part by Assembly Democrats Charles Mainor and John F. McKeon. It is also one of numerous bills in a sweeping Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention bill package.
The sponsors note that currently, for a private sale, an individual must obtain a permit to purchase a handgun or possess a valid firearms purchaser identification card before they can purchase the firearm. This legislation is intended to provide an extra condition for a private or out-of-state sale by requiring it to be conducted through a retail dealer.
"This legislation would provide another layer of protection ensuring that before any person receives a gun from a private dealer their information and identification is triple-checked prior to sale," said Mainor (D-Hudson). "Gun ownership is a constitutional right for any American. Yet, that should not deter us from taking greater measures to protect citizens in the interest of public health, safety and welfare."
The bill (A-3748) would require licensees who conduct the NICS check to submit to the Superintendent of State Police information identifying and confirming the background check. In addition, the licensee must maintain records of the transactions at the address listed on the retail license and made available for inspection by law enforcement officers when required.
"America has seen some of the most inexplicable acts of violence in recent years which strongly warrants a hard look at how we license and check individuals seeking firearm permits," said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). "Legal gun ownership should be attainable. However, due to the rise in gun violence, we must now take legislative action to toughen the requirements and further ensure that those who are issued licenses are fit to have them."
A person who violates the provisions of the bill is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A fourth degree crime is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
The Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention package was proposed in response to the national call for effective legislative action that will help curb the long-standing issue of gun violence occurring in New Jersey's communities.
The measure was approved 45-28-0. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
To read more, please visit the New Jersey General Assembly Democratic Office Web site.
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