On Monday, the New Jersey Senate’s Law and Public Safety Committee voted 3-2 to approve a bill that would limit firearm magazine capacity to 10 rounds—a drop from the state’s current 15-round limit. The Star Ledger reported that although the bill had already passed the state Assembly twice, this is the first time it won approval from the Senate committee.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence lists New Jersey as having the third-toughest gun laws in the naiton, after California and Connecticut. Despite this, Second Amendment advocates showed up in force on Monday’s committee hearing in Trenton to oppose the bill.
“No matter how much we come to the Senate, no matter how much we come to talk or how many facts […] we spew, none of you listen to us. This is like a dog-and-pony show,” Ted Price, a local resident who said that the bill will hamper his ability to defend himself, told The Wall Street Journal.
The bill was first introduced late in 2012 following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Gun control activists pushed for the bill with support from parents who lost their children in that incident, and several recently reached out to State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) to support the bill. Sweeney previously blocked the bill but changed his position after speaking with some of the victims.
“Large capacity magazines are not needed for hunting or for self defense. They are used to claim as many victims as possible, as fast as possible,” said State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who is sponsoring the bill. “If a gunman has to stop and reload, it offers a critical window of time to take down the shooter.”
Gun owners disagree with that fact, pointing to situations where they might be required to defend themselves against multiple attackers. Opponents of the magazine limit add that it will only be law-abiding citizens left with 10-round magazines, not criminals. The bill could also lead to a ban of some guns that cannot meet the proposed limit, such as popular .22 rifles and other firearms that do not have detachable box magazines.
The bill is now headed to the full state Senate for consideration.