Instead of asking for “thoughts and prayers,” many Americans, instead, are demanding action—action to help stop the epidemic of mass shootings resulting in death and destruction in our country.
Hardly a day goes by without hearing or reading about another shooting in which multiple victims lie dead or seriously wounded. Victims and survivors of the mass shooting crisis and those who have been fortunate enough to not experience this horror firsthand but witness it on the news daily are pleading with lawmakers to step up and do what their power allows them to do—change existing laws to save lives.
New Jersey Steps Up
The U.S. Third Court of Appeals did just that on Friday by upholding New Jersey’s ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Without even seeing here a complete list of the mass shootings in 2017 and 2018, most people understand how frequently they occur.
The Court of Appeals cited the recent rise in active and mass shooting incidents and the fact that mass shooters take advantage of what are called “large capacity magazines” (LCMs) to wreak their carnage. The Court said it is the large capacity magazines that are contributing to a “significant increase in the frequency and lethality of these incidents.”
United States Circuit Court Judge Patty Shwartz, in her ruling, wrote that LCMs allow for more shots to be fired from a single weapon and thus more casualties to occur when they are used. By prohibiting LCMs, the Act reduces the number of shots that can be fired from one gun, making numerous injuries less likely.”
The ruling also included that limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines did nothing to infringe upon Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms to defend oneself and family in the home. Judge Shwartz’s ruling echoes five other federal appeals courts that have found laws banning large capacity magazines to be consistent with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
New Jersey has banned magazines holding more than 15 rounds since 1990, but it imposed the stricter limit in June 2018 in response to the country’s string of mass shootings. The new law required owners of large capacity magazines to “surrender them to the state, render them inoperable, modify them so they cannot hold more than 10 rounds, or sell them to authorized owners” (such as retired police officers, who happen to be exempt from the ban) by December 10. New Jersey residents who do not comply with the law will be considered felons and will be subject to a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison for possessing previously legal products.
If you’re a gun owner and reside in New Jersey, it’s best that you understand the Court of Appeals’ ruling because ignorance of the law is not a defense. With millions of LCMs being sold since the early 1990’s, there is a very good chance that you or your Garden State neighbor has possession of one or more of the newly banned large capacity magazines.