TRENTON — Legislation that would deny any person on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist a firearms identification card or permit was approved by an Assembly panel today, 7-2-1. This measure is one of numerous bills in an Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention bill package.
The bill (A-3687) would disqualify a person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Screening Center from being issued either a firearm’s identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun. It would be effective immediately upon enactment.
“”Terrorists are on the Watchlist because their intentions to harm people and property are well known,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union), a sponsor of the bill. “They should not be given permits to own guns. It’s just common sense.”
The sponsors note in the bill that current law does provide that the issuance of a firearms identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun may be denied to any person if it “would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.” However, the sponsors said the intention of this legislation to provide a separate statutory provision for a person on the Terrorist Watchlist given the seriousness and mass-threatening nature of their criminal activity.
The approved measures will now go to the Assembly Speaker to be considered for a floor vote.
Two Republican members of the committee voted against the bill, while a third abstained, earning the ire of Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union). “I’ve heard a lot of different debate on New Jersey policy but never until today have I seen elected officials opposing something as basic as keeping guns out of the hands of those on the Terrorist Watchlist,” he said. “Keeping guns out the hands of those on the Terror Watchlist should be as basic as it gets. The opposition to this bill was flabbergasting.”