Assemblyman Tim Eustace has introduced legislation aimed at reducing incidents of mass shootings and keeping people safe from violence and intimidation in New Jersey.
The bill (A-5195) would prohibit a person who has a license to purchase, possess or carry a firearm from carrying a machine gun or an assault weapon in public. The measure would not affect the law regarding licenses to carry a handgun.
“As evidenced by recent aggressive demonstrations by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, even if no one is physically hurt, the mere presence of machine guns and assault weapons is a means of intimidating others, thus violating everyday people’s right to feel safe in their own communities,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “These firearms belong on the battlefield, not on the streets of New Jersey. Regardless of whether or not they have a license, no one needs a weapon of war to protect themselves, their family or their property.”
New Jersey state law requires a person to demonstrate to the Superior Court in his or her county that he or she has a “justifiable need” – defined as the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by serious threats, specific threats or previous attacks, which demonstrate a special danger to the person’s life that cannot be avoided by reasonable means other than by issuance of a permit to carry – in order to secure a license to carry a weapon.
“The primary purpose for machine guns and assault weapons is to murder as many people as possible in as little time as possible,” said Eustace. “In an effort to ensure the safety of all residents of New Jersey, our state must prohibit people from having these firearms in public.”
More than a thousand people have been either killed or injured in the dozens of mass shootings involving high-capacity ammunition magazines in the United States since 1980, according to the Violence Policy Center.