The Assembly gave final legislative approval Thursday to a proposal that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines in New Jersey, sending a bill that is highly unpopular with some gun-rights groups to Gov. Christie.
The bill, which passed on a 44-34 vote, would reduce magazines’ maximum legal capacity to 10 rounds from 15. Supporters say it could help prevent or limit the impact of mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012, when a gunman killed 26 schoolchildren and educators.
The gun bill was passed on a busy legislative day that also included votes in favor of bills allowing adoptees to access their original birth certificates; creating a commission to study college affordability, and requiring certain police vehicles to carry video recording devices.
Family members of two children slain at Sandy Hook traveled to Trenton in support of the magazine restriction.
“These tragedies can be reduced if not eliminated by passing legislation like this,” Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D., Camden) said at a Statehouse news conference following the vote.
“My children will be safer, and your children will be safer, if we do this and if we learn the painful lessons from these families.”
Greenwald said reducing the maximum magazine capacity would force gunmen to reload more frequently, giving would-be victims a chance to escape and allowing authorities to apprehend the shooter.
Gun-rights advocates testified at legislative hearings this year that the bill would place law-abiding gun owners at a disadvantage to criminals, who are unlikely to comply. They also denounced the bill – which would also prohibit semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds – as a gun ban that would infringe on their Second Amendment right to bear arms.