Recently, GS2AGO asked some of our state legislators about the Second Amendment and state firearms laws. The questions were:
Do you agree with the wording of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution?
Do you consider the right to keep and bear arms an inalienable right?
Are New Jersey’s “red flag” laws reasonable? Why or why not?
Do you support the State of New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement for concealed carry?
Do you believe that NJ should limit the capacity of ammunition in a magazine? What should that capacity be?
NJ’s proposed 2021 budget includes steep increases in fees and taxes* imposed on many activities related to firearms and ammunition. Do you support these increases?
Do you agree with state “reciprocity,” which allows firearms owners who are legally permitted to carry concealed in their home states to carry concealed in reciprocal states?
Do you support banning certain styles of firearms? If so, do you support a mandatory government buy back?
What are your thoughts on national constitutional carry?
Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblyman Hal Wirths responded to these questions and we are happy to reprint their answers. It is a relief to know that there are at least three elected representatives left in this bereft state who understand the Constitution and inalienable rights. Maybe there are more. Their responses are models which you should expect from your elected officials. Ask them now. In fact, if your elected representatives say anything different you should hold them accountable. Any qualifier to the Second Amendment, such as “I support the Second Amendment, but…” is explicitly *not* support for the Second Amendment. There are elections every year in this state. Every year you have the opportunity to advance the Second Amendment. Don’t re-elect anti- or weak 2A candidates.
1. Do you agree with the wording of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution?
2. Do you consider the right to keep and bear arms an inalienable right?
The Second Amendment is an inalienable right which protects the rights of individuals.
3. Are New Jersey’s “red flag” laws reasonable? Why or why not?
We opposed enacting New Jersey’s red flag law because it is an infringement on the Second Amendment and other constitutional rights. New Jersey has perhaps the worst iteration of red flag laws in the country, with absolutely no advance due process, no advance notice, and no special penalty for fabricating allegations. In fact, the way the law is structured, the State is not required to provide legal defense to the accused; the accused must pay for their own attorney. This law is absolutely ripe for abuse as anyone making a false accusation is not subject to special penalties under the law.
Only in the most urgent, exigent circumstances can a hearing await imminent action by law enforcement to stop a crime in progress. In red flag, if there is enough time to run into court, there is enough time to give advance notice / due process to the gun owner. And it is dangerous to foster the notion that red flag should be used in a true emergency – the last thing you want to do if someone is about to do something terrible with a gun is run into court and wait days or weeks for a decision -- you want to call 911 and let the police handle it right now.
4. The state of New Jersey requires applicants demonstrate a “justifiable need” to obtain a concealed carry license. The result is that very few people are approved for concealed carry in the state. Do you support a “justifiable need” requirement for concealed carry? Why or why not?
We support New Jersey becoming a shall-issue concealed carry State and we are sponsoring A2904/S3182 to do so. New Jersey is an outlier in this regard as 43 States have uniform statewide allowance for concealed carry. Reforming carry permits in New Jersey is especially important because of the backwardness of New Jersey handgun laws – unless you have a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to possess a handgun (unless you fall into a narrow set of exemptions) and you can face mandatory jail time. New Jersey’s definition of justifiable need and reliance on judges to issue permits has made it impossible for law-abiding citizens to obtain a carry permit. Even Wikipedia calls New Jersey carry law “May-issue (No-issue in practice).” We opposed the recently enacted statute that codified regulations defining justifiable need to carry handgun and are supportive of several lawsuits moving forward to overturn New Jersey’s near-prohibitions on concealed carry.
5. Recently, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a California ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition was unconstitutional. Do you believe that NJ should limit the capacity of ammunition in a magazine? What should that capacity be?
New Jersey should not limit the capacity of ammunition in a magazine. We recognize that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own and possess firearms. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are standard equipment for many handguns and rifles that many Americans keep for self-defense. In 1991, under Governor Florio and a Democrat-controlled legislature, a ban on magazines of more than 15 rounds for rifles and handguns took effect. Then 17 years later, Governor Murphy and the Democrat-controlled legislature lowered the magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10 rounds.
Of course, crime statistics did not support such nonsense. Magazine bans do nothing to enhance public safety as criminals do not follow the law. On the other hand, New Jersey’s law has put law-abiding gun owners in jeopardy from both a legal and a personal safety standpoint. Florio and Murphy turned legally owned property into contraband overnight and turns thousands of people into felons with the stroke of a pen.
6. NJ’s proposed 2021 budget includes steep increases in fees and taxes imposed on many activities related to firearms and ammunition. Do you support these increases?
We oppose these hikes in fees and taxes on firearms, ammunition, and permits. Fortunately, they were not included in the FY2021 budget. We will remain vigilant in case they are brought up again in future budget proposals.
7. Do you agree with state “reciprocity,” which allows firearms owners who are legally permitted to carry concealed in their home states to carry concealed in reciprocal states?
Yes. We will be introducing a resolution supporting national reciprocity once a bill is introduced and numbered in the new Congress in 2021. We are sponsors of A4053/S3202 which requires the State to recognize permits to carry handguns issued to New Jersey residents by other states.
8. Do you support banning certain styles of firearms? If so, do you support a mandatory government buy back?
We do not support banning firearms in New Jersey, therefore we also oppose mandatory government buy backs.
9. What are your thoughts on national constitutional carry?
We support national carry reciprocity and the language in H.R. 38 of 2017-2018, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.”
* After massive outrage from firearms owners, this language was removed from the 2021 budget