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Madden & Greenstein Bill to Prohibit Armor-Piercing Ammunition in New Jersey Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden and Senate Law and Public Safety Chair Linda R. Greenstein that would prohibit the possession of armor piercing ammunition in New Jersey advanced from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday.

“My experience in the State Police has shown that the only people who should have possession of this type of ammunition are law enforcement.  There is just no reason a person should be able to obtain ammunition that has as destructive capabilities as this does,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester).  “Some handguns today are manufactured to be able to use bullets meant for rifles.  We can make it more difficult to obtain rifles, but we also need to ban the ammunition that can be shared between the different types of guns.”

“This is a bill that has been adopted and implemented in twenty other states,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer).  “We looked to the federal government in order to adopt the federal definition of armor piercing bullets, in order to ban this type of dangerous ammunition that has been able to circulate under the radar.”

The bill, S-2245, 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 clear up more of the 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 committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.