Gun-control measures advance in New Jersey

    New Jersey lawmakers have advanced a 20-bill package of measures aimed at reducing gun violence.

    The bills under consideration Wednesday by an Assembly committee would impose new restrictions that include limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and expanding New Jersey’s existing ban on military style weapons.

    Assembly Public Safety Committee chairman Charles Mainor says the time to get serious about protecting communities from gun violence is long overdue.

    “We recognize that we can not put an end to each and every gun crime, but we can responsibly close the gaps and make our laws stronger for the benefit of everyone, said Mainor, D-Hudson. “With this effort good common sense will prevail.”

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    Legislation is not the answer, contends Lori Caratzola of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.

    “We’re not dealing with the real problem by making more laws. We have a lot of gun laws in New Jersey,” Caratzola said. “They’re not working. Why? Because criminals don’t follow the laws by very definition of being a criminal.”

    Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, concurs.

    “There isn’t another law in this package of bills that would prevent another tragedy. Not one, but there are many bills being considered that do a lot to interfere with the right of self-defense that will actually cost lives of those whom the police can not reach in time,” he said.

    Supporters say stronger laws are needed to protect the public.

    During the Wednesday hearing, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said the measures are reasonable.

    “Make it more difficult for the people with mental issues, evil intent, and criminals,” Healy said. “Make it more difficult for them to get these weapons of really war weapons.”

    The bills are expected to go before the full Assenbly for a vote next week. The Senate also plans to act on gun-control measures. There’s no indication whether Gov. Chris Christie would sign any of the bills into law.

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