new jersey

N.J. Assembly passes package of gun bills despite Republicans’ protest

by Matt Friedman, The Star-Ledger  |  published on February 23, 2013

The state Assembly wasted little time today approving 22 bills intended to curb gun violence despite protests from Republicans, who said Democrats put the legislation, some of it flawed, on too fast a track.

The session was largely free of the drama provided by a rowdy crowd that jammed the Statehouse annex for last week’s hearing, but opponents vowed a fierce political battle ahead if the measures advanced any further.

“They have awakened a sleeping giant in an election year,” Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, said in an interview shortly before the vote.

Most of the nearly two dozen bills taken up in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., were approved largely along party lines, and a few received near-unanimous support.

Among the most controversial of the measures approved was one that would limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 shells from the current 15 (A1329). Others would outlaw .50 caliber weapons (A3659), create weapon-free school zones (A1387), require background checks for private gun sales (A3748) and require safety training for people seeking firearm purchase permits (A3510).

“The work we are trying to do is an effort to be comprehensive,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) said in comments the floor. “It is an effort not only to be comprehensive but to strike the needed balance between protecting the beautiful document that is our Constitution and the amendments that it holds.”

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