Who could have possibly predicted this?
According to a law that took effect on December 10th, 2018, all New Jersey residents were required to turn in all “large capacity magazines” on their firearms to law enforcement immediately. However, according to a report from Reason, New Jersey residents may not have turned a single such magazine in compliance with the law.
What’s the story?
The New Jersey legislature passed a law in June 2018 that made the possession of “large capacity magazines” — defined as magazines that hold more than ten rounds — illegal.
The law requires any New Jersey resident who currently owns such a magazine to either surrender it to law enforcement, modify it so that it can no longer hold more than ten rounds, destroy it, or sell it to an authorized dealer. Alternately, under certain circumstances, gun owners who possess magazines that can’t be modified can keep their magazines if they register with the state. Failure to demonstrate compliance with the law could result in a hefty fine and a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
The law was challenged in court by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, which sought an injunction preventing enforcement of the law. The plaintiffs’ suit was finally disposed on December 5th of by an appellate ruling from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling allowed the law to go into effect on December 10th.
Investigations conducted last week by Reason and Ammoland writer John Crump, however, were unable to find that a single New Jersey resident had complied with the law by turning in their LCMs to law enforcement. Several police departments — including the New Jersey State Police — affirmatively responded that “zero” magazines had been turned in to law enforcements, while others were simply unable or unwilling to provide answers. Overall, not a single confirmed instance of a gun owner turning in an LCM to police was found.
Further, a source within the New Jersey State Police told Reason that they have not been given any guidance from the State Attorney General’s office on how to enforce the law. According to Crump, sources within the State Police told him that the current plan is to only enforce the law with respect to New Jersey gun owners who come to the attention of police for some other reason.
It is estimated that there may be as many as ten million magazines in New Jersey that are now illegal under the new law.
Reason notes that widespread noncompliance with magazine restriction laws “seems to be the rule rather than the exception.”