Gun bills cleared from committee: ID card restriction, open public records law exception

TRENTON – Assembly lawmakers began the task of clearing gun violence bills out of committee Wednesday.

Several bills were cleared out of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, beginning with A3687, which disqualifies a person named on the federal Terrorist Watchlist from obtaining a firearms identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun.

The bill cleared along party lines with one lawmaker, Assemblyman Erik Peterson, (R-23), abstaining.

Committee members are taking part in a heated debate on gun violence as hundreds have descended on the Statehouse to speak for or against the measures. The committee is slated to take up more than 20 bills supporters say aim to stem gun violence.

“Newtown, Connecticut will go down in history as the last straw,” said Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37). “Together, the Senate and Assembly will work on an appropriate package.”

Opponents argued the proposal did little to stem violence and would infringe on residents’ Second Amendment rights.

“No law will ever stop someone who is bent on doing evil,” said Scott Bach, of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc.

“Criminals and madmen do not follow laws,” he said.

The committee also released several other gun violence proposals:

A3788: This bill would protect the privacy of individuals with New Jersey firearms permits by specifying an exception to the state’s open public records law.

The bill is in reaction to the recent incident in which a newspaper in New York published an online map of firearms permit holders in that state, which it was able to do through public records.

The sponsors, Republicans David Rible and Ronald Dancer, want to make sure that does not happen here.

A1613 would establish the Educational Security Task Force.

The 15-member task force would be charged with helping to develop statewide guidelines and standards for New Jersey school districts regarding security and emergency preparedness.

The guidelines and standards would include long-range school readiness guidelines and minimum building security and assessment standards for existing school facilities and new construction, according to the bill.

A3583 would create a task force to study areas to improve school safety.

A1613 and A3583 were merged before being approved.

"This meeting is entirely off the record. Until somebody leaks it."
—Michael Kempner, addressing a roomful of Democratic powerbrokers organizng for Hillary Clinton