By Evan F. Nappen, Attorney at Law
New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- New Jersey Cops were surprised to discover that under the Governor Murphy Mag Ban they too could not possess any magazine over ten rounds while off-duty. Usually, anti-gun Democrats exempt police from such laws meant to control the peasants. How did this happen?
It happened because of the legacy of the law created by New Jersey’s original 1990 Florio Mag Ban. Even though the Murphy Administration rushed to pass legislation to correct their political mistake and allow off-duty officers to possess magazines up to 17 rounds, this latest “fix” is still a legal fail.
Here is the timeline:
- May 1990 – The Florio Mag Ban is passed which prohibits “large capacity ammunition magazines” (15 round limit).
- Possession is banned under N.J.S. 2C:39-3 and
- Transport is banned under N.J.S. 2C:39-9.
- The “off-duty” issue/problem/flaw exists for both sections under Florio Mag Ban but is generally ignored because most handguns do not have magazines over 15 rounds.
- June 2018 – The Murphy Mag Ban was passed lowering the limit to 10 rounds.
- Possession is still banned under N.J.S. 2C:39-3 and
- Transport is still banned under N.J.S. 2C:39-9.
- The same “off-duty” issue/problem/flaw exists for both sections under the Murphy Mag Ban, but now the issue/problem/flaw can NOT be ignored because an overwhelming number of handguns have magazines over ten rounds.
- December 2018 – A “fix” was passed to allow off-duty cops to possess Murphy Mags up to 17 rounds while off-duty, BUT ONLY SPECIFICALLY EXEMPTING N.J.S. 2C:39-3j. The law fails to fix the legacy problem of transporting Murphy Mags under N.J.S. 2C:39-9.
Here are the current laws:
N.J.S. 2C:39-1 y. Definition.
“Large capacity ammunition magazine” means a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm. (Author Note: This is the Murphy Mag Ban which simply changed the Florio Mag Ban legacy from 15 to 10.)
N.J.S. 2C:39-3 j. Possession Offense.
Any person who knowingly has in his possession a large capacity ammunition magazine is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree unless the person has registered an assault firearm pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c.32 (C.2C:58-12) and the magazine is maintained and used in connection with participation in competitive shooting matches sanctioned by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship of the United States Department of the Army. (Author Note: This is the unchanged Florio Mag Ban legacy.)
N.J.S. 2C:39-3 g. Exceptions.
(1) (a) Nothing in subsection a., b., c., d., e., f., j. or k. of this section shall apply to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or except as otherwise provided, to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty, provided that his possession of the prohibited weapon or device has been duly authorized under the applicable laws, regulations or military or law enforcement orders. (Emphasis added) (Author Note: This is the unchanged Florio Mag Ban legacy exception.)
(b) Nothing in subsection j. of this section shall apply to a law enforcement officer who possesses and carries while off-duty a large capacity ammunition magazine capable of holding not more than 17 rounds of ammunition that can be fed continuously and directly into a semi-automatic firearm. (Emphasis added) (Author Note: This is part one of the Murphy Mag Ban fix for only N.J.S. 39-3j.)
(c) Notwithstanding subparagraph (b) of this paragraph, subsection j. of this section shall not apply to a law enforcement officer who possesses and carries while off-duty a large capacity ammunition magazine capable of holding more than 17 rounds of ammunition that can be fed continuously and directly into a semi-automatic firearm provided the large capacity ammunition magazine is used with a service firearm issued to the officer by the officer’s employer for use in the officer’s official duties. (Emphasis added) (Author Note: This is the part two of Murphy Mag Ban fix for only N.J.S. 39-3j. .)
N.J.S. 2C:39-9 h. Transportation Offense.
Large capacity ammunition magazines. Any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, sells or disposes of a large capacity ammunition magazine which is intended to be used for any purpose other than for authorized military or law enforcement purposes by duly authorized military or law enforcement personnel is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. (Emphasis added) (Author Note: This is the Florio Mag Ban legacy prohibition and exception for N.J.S. 39-9h.)
The N.J.S. 2C:39-9 h. Florio Mag Ban still requires that law enforcement who transport Murphy Mags be “duly authorized” AND have them for “duly authorized” law enforcement purposes. The Murphy Mag Ban “fix” fails to fix this.
Additionally, off-duty cops possessing Murphy Mags must be “duly authorized” AND have Murphy Mags only for “duly authorized” law enforcement purposes to lawfully transport them. Without such authorization, cops cannot lawfully transport their Murphy Mags without being in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-9 h.
P.S. The N.J.S. 2C:39-9 h. legacy Florio Mag Ban also applies to “retired” cops as they, too, were only exempted for N.J.S. 2C:39-3j. and not for N.J.S. 2C:39-9h. under the Murphy Mag Ban.
About Evan Nappen:
Evan Nappen (www.EvanNappen.com) is a criminal defense attorney who has focused on New Jersey firearms and weapons law for over 23 years. He is the author of the New Jersey Gun Law Guide. Visit his website at www.EvanNappen.com