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Weinberg, Gill Bill to Limit Size of Firearm Magazines Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Nia Gill that would ban firearm magazines capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition advanced from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Monday.

“We know lives can be saved in the time it takes a mass shooter to reload. Whether it’s six lives or four lives or even one – that is one less family grieving, one more person saved,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “We have to say that there is a difference between a gun owner looking to protect themselves and their family or a hunter or sportsman and someone intent on killing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. A hunter does not need a 15-round magazine.”

“Gun violence is all too common in our society,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “A very important step in making our communities safer is to limit the size of firearm magazines and there is no compelling need for a civilian to have a 15-round magazine.”

The bill, S-102, in addition to banning firearm magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, within 180 days of its passage, would require the owner of any semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds to:

  • transfer ownership of the firearm to an individual who can legally own the gun or,
  • render the rifle or magazine inoperable, or permanently modify the magazine to accept 10 rounds or less or,
  • voluntarily surrender the firearm to law enforcement.

However, under the bill, a person who legally owns a firearm with a fixed magazine capacity holding up to 15 rounds that cannot be modified to hold 10 rounds or less prior to the bill’s passage can register the firearm to maintain ownership.

The bill would specifically exclude firearms with an attached tubular device and that only use .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. This would allow for the continued sale and possession of the Marlin Model 60, a popular beginner gun, which is low caliber and cannot be quickly reloaded.

The bill would also allow a retired law enforcement officer who is authorized to possess and carry a handgun with a magazine capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition to continue to do so.

High-capacity weapons were used in the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; and other places.

The now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 included limits on magazines that can hold over 10 rounds. Eight states ban or regulate high-capacity magazines: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. New Jersey currently limits the size to 15. New York City restricts magazine capacity to 5 rounds for rifles and shotguns.

In March of 2015, an NPR poll conducted after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, found that 73 percent of Americans support banning high-capacity ammunition magazine holding 10 or more rounds.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-1, and next moves to the full Senate for consideration.