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New Jersey Makes It a Felony to Possess a ‘High Capacity’ Magazine, Even if You’re a Cop

By: Friedrich Seiltgen

As of December 11, 2018, possessing a firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds became a fourth-degree felony in New Jersey.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the ban last June. Unlike other bans, this one does not allow a person to own a standard capacity magazine, even if he purchased it prior to the ban going into effect. It’s retroactive, and there is no grandfather clause, meaning anyone in possession of a banned magazine is now subject to a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.

Last week, a challenge to the ban brought by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court ruled 2-1 that the ban “does not unconstitutionally burden the Second Amendment right to self-defense in the home.”

Strange, my copy of the Constitution doesn’t state that the Second Amendment applies only in the home.

“The law also does not violate the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause because it does not require gun owners to surrender their magazines but instead allows them to retain modified magazines or register firearms that have magazines that cannot be modified,” the court ruled.

The dissenting opinion came from Judge Stephanos Bibas, who stated, “The Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights. We must treat the right to keep and bear arms like other enumerated rights, as the Supreme Court insisted in Heller.”

(Cga.ct.gov reports, in Heller vs. District of Columbia (2008), “…the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms for lawful use, such as self-defense, in the home. Accordingly, it struck down as unconstitutional provisions of a D.C. law that (1) effectively banned possession of handguns by non-law enforcement officials and (2) required lawfully owned firearms to be kept unloaded, disassembled, or locked when not located at a business place or being used for lawful recreational activities.”)

ANJRPC attorneys Chuck Cooper and Dave Thompson are requesting an en banc hearing, meaning they want the entire court, instead of simply a three-judge panel, from the third circuit to hear the case. If this effort fails, they plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Cops Are Not Exempt
Gunpowder Magazine obtained a memo issued by the Bergen County, New Jersey Prosecutors office in reference the possession of Large Capacity Magazines (LCM) by law enforcement officers (LEOs). In their rush to deny citizens their Second Amendment rights, New Jersey politicians left out an exemption for law enforcement.

Before it was amended, New Jersey LEOs could not carry their service weapon while off-duty!

The memo specifically stated:

“The statute now provides that law enforcement officers are not permitted to possess large capacity ammunition magazines, i.e. magazines capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously into semi-automatic firearms, unless while on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.

“This statute applies to all law enforcement officers, including those subject to on-call status. Violation of this statute constitutes a fourth degree crime. There is legislation pending to amend the statute to permit law enforcement officers possession of large capacity magazines. We will keep you informed if and when the statute is amended.”

“That means that just about all law enforcement officers in New Jersey will be breaking the law if they carry their assigned duty weapons while off duty, including just being home with them, unless they live outside of the state or leave their magazines behind at work, rendering the weapons near-useless,” Soldier of Fortune pointed out. “Under the new law, it’s technically legal for them to carry their gun home from work with them, but the minute they get home, they are breaking the law.”
Lawmakers scrambled to try to rectify the problematic law this week.

“The bill now on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk would let off-duty police carry magazines holding 17 rounds of ammunition or [fewer],” nj1015.com reported. They could possess magazines that can carry more than 17 rounds, if it’s used with their work-issued firearm.”

What to Do in a Raid?
New Jersey State Police refused to comment on how they plan to enforce this ban, stating, “We do not discuss enforcement strategies.” Breitbart News reports it “reached out to Gov. Murphy’s (D) press secretary Daniel Bryan about enforcement of the ban…[who did] not ruled out house-to-house enforcement of the ban either.”

ANJRPC board members Scott Bach Esq. and Evan Nappen, Esq. have released a short legal guide about complying with the ban, available at www.anjrpc.org. Nappen is also the author of a book on New Jersey firearm laws and has a magazine ban guide title, “Knock! Knock! – Show us Your Glock - What to Expect & How to Protect Yourself from the Murphy Magazine Ban,” which are both available at his website, www.evannappan.com. While the guide references the New Jersey ban, it contains basic information applicable to all gun owners.

Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He currently conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. His writing has appeared in The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Homeland Security Today and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at polizei22@msn.com.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.