New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law
The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law, also known as P.L.2002, c.130, was a now-repealed law that would restrict the sale of handguns in NJ to smart guns that "can only be fired by an authorized or recognized user" and would take effect three years after the technology is available for retail purposes. It has been a controversial issue for the National Rifle Association and many gun owners because of its restrictions and the unusual move that "legislates a product that does not exist".
On July 16, 2019 Gov. Murphy signed into law a bill which repealed substantially all of the original Childproof Handgun Law and replaced it with a requirement that after the state Attorney General approves a production model each firearms retailer in the state would be required to carry and display at least one smart gun on their shelves with "a sign... disclosing the features of personalized handguns that are not offered by traditional handguns".
The law passed on December 23, 2002, and provides a timetable for implementation. Specifically:
The amended bill specifies that three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail purposes, it will be illegal for any registered or licensed firearms manufacturer or dealer to transport, sell, expose for sale, possess for sale, assign or transfer any handgun unless that handgun is a personalized handgun.
Numerous parties blamed the law for causing research into smartgun technologies to stop. Inc. columnist Joseph Steinberg also criticized the naming of the law as "a terrible misnomer that insinuates that smartguns are somehow childproof, a notion that might encourage owners not to treat the weapons with the same care as they would conventional weapons."
In 2014, the introduction of the Armatix iP1, which can identify authorized users via an electronic bracelet, rekindled debate regarding the law Death threats were received in May 2014 by an owner of Engage Armaments in Maryland, who was considering selling the gun but eventually backed off. On May 2, 2014, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said she would introduce a bill repealing the 2002 law if the National Rifle Association would agree not to stand in the way of smart gun technology.
On May 19, 2014, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the local chapter of the Million Mom March sued the state of New Jersey, claiming none of the required quarterly reports on the status of personalized guns were filed between at least 2004 and 2012. They said in a statement:
New Jersey law requires the attorney general to report on the availability of personal handgun technology, and that law hasn't been complied with for 10 years. It's particularly important now because there's evidence that personalized handguns have been available for sale in at least two locations.
- Pearce, Jeremy (2003-01-12). "Smart Guns, A Clever Bit Of Legislating". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "An Act concerning personalized handguns and revising various parts of the statutory law". Act No. P.L.2019, c.164 of July 16, 2019.
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- Joseph Steinberg (January 11, 2016). "Smartguns: What You Need to Know". Inc. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Board, Star-Ledger Editorial (2014-05-15). "Capitulation on NJ smart gun law is OK, but only if it saves lives: Editorial". NJ.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (6 March 2014). "Calif. store backs away from smart guns after outcry from 2nd Amendment activists". The Washington Post.
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (1 May 2014). "Maryland dealer, under pressure from gun-rights activists, drops plan to sell smart gun". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
- Montopoli, Brian (2014-05-02). "N.J. Democrat: We will reverse smart gun law if NRA plays ball". MSNBC. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- "New Jersey sued, accused of ignoring 2002 gun law". Philly.com. Associated Press. 2014-05-21. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- Jones, Ashby (2014-12-02). "Unusual New Jersey Firearm Law Doesn't Apply to 'Smart Gun,' AG Finds". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
- "Attorney General's Report to the Governor and the Legislature as to the Availability of Personalized Handguns for Retail Sales Purposes, pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:58-2.3" (PDF). November 2014.