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Madden, Greenstein Bill to Clarify the Possession of Armor-Piercing Ammunition in New Jersey Clears Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. and Senate Law and Public Safety Chair Linda R. Greenstein that would clarify the possession of armor piercing ammunition in New Jersey was passed by the full Senate today.

“My experience in the State Police has shown that the only people who should have possession of this type of ammunition are law enforcement officers.  There is just no reason for a person to own ammunition that has such destructive capabilities,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester), a retired State Trooper and Dean of the Gloucester County Police Academy.  “Some handguns today are manufactured to be able to use bullets meant for rifles.  We can regulate rifles, but we also need to clarify the ban on ammunition that can be shared between the different types of guns.”

“Armor piercing ammunition has already been banned in twenty states, including here in New Jersey,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer).  “We looked to the federal government to adopt the federal definition of armor piercing bullets, in order to update and replace the state’s already existing ban on this type of dangerous ammunition.”

The bill, S-2245, substituted by A-2759, would update and replace the state’s prohibition on the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment, sale and disposal of “body armor penetrating bullets” for “armor piercing ammunition.”  This bill would clarify that the possession or manufacture of this ammunition is a crime of the fourth degree, which is punishable by a fine of no more than $10,000, imprisonment for no more than 18 months, or both.

The bill would define “armor piercing ammunition” to mean: (1) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and is constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (2) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

New Jersey has an existing law banning “armor-piercing ammunition.”  This bill would clarify some legal issues presented in the current law.  Twenty other states, and the District of Columbia, have a ban on armor-piercing ammunition.  These states include California, Connecticut, Florida and Texas.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 37-0, and now goes to the Governor’s desk.