Statement of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs in Response to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Firearms Legislation Vetoes

Aug 16, 2013, 19:10 ET from Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs

TRENTON, N.J., Aug. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a blow to anti-gun politicians and the gun ban lobby, today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a ban on fifty caliber firearms and conditionally vetoed two other bills – a "kitchen sink" bill attacking numerous rights of gun owners and sportsmen, and a bill that would have forced the New Jersey State Police to breach confidentiality of protected gun trace data in violation of federal law. A fourth bill creating a task force to study school security issues was signed by the Governor.

A "conditional veto" means that the legislation is dead, unless the legislature reconvenes to resurrect it through amendments that meet strict conditions imposed by the Governor.  Whether New Jersey Democrats have the stomach to swallow those conditions remains to be seen. Alternatively, the legislature could try to override the veto by a 2/3 vote of both houses, which is unlikely given the current composition of the legislature.

"After 7 months of battle over misguided legislation that won't stop another crime or prevent another tragedy, we are grateful that Governor Christie has finally ended the discussion on the worst of the bills by tossing them onto the scrap heap where they belong," said Scott L. Bach, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, the Garden State's premier Second Amendment organization.  "These vetoes put gun-banning politicians on notice that exploiting tragedy to advance an agenda against legal gun owners, instead of punishing violent criminals, will not be entertained."

New Jersey already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.


A3659 – The fifty caliber gun ban, would have: banned high muzzle-energy guns of any caliber; blocked heirlooms from family members; imposed civil liability on grandfathered owners if the firearms were used in a crime; and resulted in forfeiture of pending orders by legal gun owners for these $10,000+ firearms that are used primarily by wealthy hobbyists. 

The notion that banning any particular tool makes society safer is demonstrably false, and ignores the obvious reality that someone intent on doing evil will not be stopped or deterred if one particular tool becomes unavailable.  

"If box cutters could take down the World Trade Center, does anyone really believe that banning box cutters will stop the next terrorist?" asked Bach.  "The same is true of firearms – banning the fifty caliber or any other firearm will not stop someone bent on doing evil," he said.

The Governor's statement on A3659 criticizes the scope of the ban, notes drafting errors that would defeat grandfathering, and observes that rather than combating crime and terror, the bill only serves to threaten law-abiding gun owners with imprisonment for lawful recreation.

S2723 – New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney's "kitchen sink" omnibus bill, a 42-page monstrosity universally despised by gun owners and sportsmen.  The bill, touted by Democrats as the "centerpiece" of their gun bill package and a "national model," would have: thrown out existing firearms ID cards and replaced them with a privacy-invading driver license endorsement or other form of ID; suspended Second Amendment rights without proof of firearms training; ended firearms sales directly between background-checked licensed gun owners; and had numerous other impacts.

Under Governor Christie's conditional veto, S2723 could only be resurrected if both houses of the legislature agreed to the following conditions:

-  Remove all provisions that would have created a new electronic firearms ID card;

-  Remove all provisions that would have suspended Second Amendment rights without proof of firearms training;

-  Remove all provisions that would have ended firearms sales directly between background-checked licensed gun owners; and

-  Add a provision requiring the State Police to develop and promulgate literature regarding safe firearms storage and ownership.

It is unknown whether New Jersey's Democratic leadership would accept these conditions.  While doing so would salvage what is left of their "centerpiece," the final bill would be a gutted version, stripped of the key attacks on legal gun owners about which they have boasted, and very likely an embarrassment to them. 

Governor Christie's statement accompanying his conditional veto criticized the legislature as "shortsighted" for focusing on gun control instead of comprehensive violence solutions.  The statement also noted the bill's failure "to directly combat violence," and the current unavailability of the technology that would be required to implement the electronic ID card.

A3797 – conditionally vetoed because of one section that required the State Police to breach confidentiality of federal gun trace data in direct violation of federal law limiting the data to law enforcement only.  BATFE has opposed similar efforts to circumvent confidentiality, which could compromise ongoing investigations, and courts have rejected them as well.   If the legislature amends the bill to remove this illegal provision, the amended bill would then return to the Governor's desk.

The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs is New Jersey's premier Second Amendment organization. Founded in 1936, it is the Garden State's oldest and largest gun group, representing New Jersey's one million law-abiding gun owners. Its mission is to promote responsible firearms ownership and defend the right to keep and bear arms.

CONTACT: Scott L. Bach, Executive Director,, +1-973-697-9270

SOURCE Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs