Potentially Destructive Military-Grade Weapons Pose Security Threat to NJ
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Peter Barnes and Gordon Johnson sponsored that would ban the sale of .50-caliber rifles – including powerful battlefield-styled weapons that would be devastatingly lethal in the hands of terrorists – was released approved Thursday by the Assembly as part of the Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention effort.
“In a post-9/11 society, there is simply no reason for .50-caliber weapons to be available for civilian use,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “With the continued rise in gang violence across the state and the fact that New Jersey possesses numerous chemical plants and rail yards vulnerable to attack by .50-caliber weapons, we have a serious responsibility to stop these inherently deadly weapons from falling into the wrong hands.”
“Fifty-caliber guns are inappropriate and unnecessary for civilian use and sale,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “These are for the most part weapons designed specifically for the battlefield. There is no justifiable reason they should be available in the open market.”
The bill revises the definition of “destructive device” so that it includes weapons of 50 caliber or greater. Under the bill, it would be unlawful to possess a firearm having a caliber of 50 or greater.
Under the revised definition, a 50 caliber weapon includes any weapon capable of firing a center-fire cartridge of a caliber of 50 or greater, including a 12.7 mm equivalent of 50 caliber or greater or any other metric equivalent.
The definition also includes a copy or duplicate of any such weapon regardless of caliber that is capable of firing a projectile that attains a muzzle energy of 12,000 foot-pounds or greater in any combination of bullet, propellant, case or primer.
The prohibition on 50 caliber weapons would not apply to a smooth bore shotgun or rifle barrel shotgun or any shotgun ammunition generally recognized as suitable for sporting purposes in this state.
Antique firearms, antique handguns, muzzleloader rifles and certain black powder muzzleloaders are not included in the revised definition of a 50 caliber weapon.
The bill will now be referred to the Senate for more consideration.