New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill into law that would potentially classify a million law-abiding New Jersey residents as criminals within six months.
In case you were unaware, recently Gov. Murphy signed six bills restricting gun ownership into laws. The laws will force legal gun owners who currently own high-capacity ammunition magazines into taking one of the following actions within 180 days:
- Transfer ownership of high-capacity magazines to someone in another state who is permitted to own the ammunition
- Surrender the magazines
- Permanently modify the magazines so they will only fire 10 or fewer rounds
Failing to comply could result in spending as long as 18 months in prison and/or paying a fine as high as $10,000.
Flaw in the law
The problem is that almost all rifles and compact and full-size handguns have standard ammunition magazines that are capable of firing over 10 rounds.
One group has mounted a legal challenge to the law. The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs acted immediately to prevent the law from criminalizing New Jersey gun owners.
Without debating the pros and cons of restricting gun rights, this law could become problematic for some New Jersey citizens. Some may be unaware of the changes and inadvertently expose themselves to criminal prosecution simply because they didn't stay abreast of changes to existing state gun laws.
Gun charges are serious
Being arrested for a weapons violation is a life-altering situation. Many residents in high-profile careers can not only lose their jobs but their ability to work in certain industries. Still others would be barred from living in some community settings or face a loss of government benefits or tuition assistance.
The law could also potentially disrupt an otherwise lawful parent's custody of his or her children. This would be especially true in contested custody battles where one parent is already attempting to get the upper hand over the other.
What gun owners can expect
The trajectory of a legal challenge to a law is rarely predictable. It can be assumed that both pro-Second Amendment and gun control activists will vociferously defend their positions, both in and out of the courtroom.
Meanwhile, any legal gun owners in the state who are adversely affected by this law should immediately mount stalwart defenses to any criminal charges they might face.