OK, we all know New Jersey wants to wear the crown of being the most gun-unfriendly state in the union. So it should have come as no surprise that the state passed a law limiting people to magazines that hold 10 or fewer rounds.
But when it comes to enforcing the law, what are N.J. officials going to do? Well, they have given no publicized answer to that question—maybe because they don’t want to tip people to their enforcement strategy, but more likely because they don’t have an enforcement strategy.
The NRA has long argued that we don’t need more gun laws. If the country really wanted to curtail the number of violent crimes that are committed with a firearm in tow, the justice system could put people away for a good, long time just by enforcing laws that have been on the books for years.
The new guidance for magazines, which went into effect earlier this month, has basically turned multitudes of otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals with the stroke of a pen. Well, not exactly yet. Anyone who owns magazines that hold more than 10 rounds have 180 days to surrender them or have them modified so they can’t possibly hold more.
But, again, the question of how to enforce the law comes up. Are police going to go door to door, physically conducting a search of property and checking to see if the magazines have been modified? That’s tantamount to illegal search and seizure.
Then there’s the question of penalty. An estimated 1 million citizens of New Jersey have magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. If the state is looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, it could probably solve any revenue shortfall by fining violators. And if the state confiscates the offensive magazines, what will happen if a lawsuit overturns the law? Guess the good citizens of New Jersey won’t get their firearm accessories returned to them in good working order.
The attorney general’s office has been mum on the question of what the future holds. One thing is known, though: no money has been set aside for enforcement of this law. So maybe it’s just another “let’s do something so we can tell our constituents we did” type of measure. Always the best use of lawmakers’ time.