TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Sandra Bolden Cunningham and Teresa Ruiz, which prohibits the sale and purchase of more than one handgun per person, within a 30-day period, was signed into law today.
According to the sponsors, the law will help to prevent “straw purchasing,” or purchasing a firearm for someone who is not legally allowed to buy one.
“This legislation is about reducing gun violence and saving lives,” said Senator Ruiz, D-Essex and Union. “The effects of illegal gun violence and the wounds it causes are far-reaching in that they not only touch victims, but also families and communities as a whole. This law is a significant step in the right direction toward reducing the number of illegal, unlicensed guns on the streets and increasing safety for the people of this State.”
The Senators’ bill, S-1774, bans the sale or purchase of more than one handgun per person, within a 30-day period. The law focuses on straw purchasers and bulk sellers, who obtain multiple gun permits, buy the guns and then sell them on the black market to unlicensed buyers. Federal, state and local law enforcement officers and licensed gun dealers and retailers are not subject to the 30-day limitation.
Under previous law, no one could purchase, sell or transfer a firearm to another person unless he or she had the necessary permit or authorization. Each gun permit enabled a buyer to purchase one gun, and subsequent permits were needed for additional guns. Authorized gun sellers were required to do FBI background checks on prospective purchasers before transferring a firearm.
Previous law also specified who was disqualified from securing a gun permit. This group included convicted criminals, minors, or anyone drug or alcohol dependant or mentally ill.
On June 26, Governor Corzine also signed an executive order, authorizing the creation of a nine-member task force to address the impact of the legislation on gun collectors, recreational gun users and competitive sportsmen. The task force is responsible for making recommendations for any additional legislation. According to the executive order, the task force was responsible for meeting within 30 days of the order’s signing, and the initial report will be due within 90 days. Secondly, the task force will be responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of the bill, and issuing a report on its progress within 18 months of the initial report.
Under the bill, a buyer or seller who violates the provisions of this bill would be guilty of a fourth degree crime, which carries penalties of 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.