New Jersey would create a first-in- the-nation electronic system for instant background checks of gun buyers, under firearms-safety bills Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced.
Sweeney, along with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and Senator Donald Norcross, from Camden, will introduce the bills April 15 in the state Senate. All three are Democrats and their party controls the state legislature.
A task force commissioned by Governor Chris Christie, a Republican seeking re-election this year, released a report April 10 that recommended requiring gun owners to renew their identification cards periodically and give them up following a criminal conviction. The governor has said he was reviewing the report and plans to release his own proposals in about a week.
“We all want the same thing: to provide safety and protection for our friends and family,” Sweeney, from West Deptford, said today in a statement. “These bills will do just that, both through common-sense and new, innovative measures.”
The central component of the Democrats’ plan will be the system that facilitates background checks for would-be buyers in all firearms purchases, Sweeney said. The system would combine licensing for handguns and hunting rifles and encode information from drivers’ licenses or state-issued identification in order to immediately spot those who aren’t permitted to own a weapon.
The Democrats also would ban .50-caliber Barrett “assault weapon,” crack down on illegal gun trafficking and prohibit sales to those on the federal no-fly list, according to the statement. Sweeney said they would also require immediate revocation of gun permits from those convicted of a crime or for those involuntarily committed.
The bills also would deal with mental-health issues and school safety, according to the statement. The Democrats also would require a firearms identification card to buy ammunition and mandate a training course for those who want to obtain a gun permit, and exempt firearms records from public view.
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie, didn’t immediately respond to a telephone call or e-mail seeking comment on the measures.
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