Already considered one of the toughest states for gun control, New Jersey is poised to go even further by regulating the sale and registration of toy guns. In response to the recent police shooting of 13-year-old Tyre King in Ohio, who authorities say was carrying a realistic-looking BB gun, New Jersey legislators have taken up discussion of a bill to regulate toys.
Does NJ need more gun laws? Here are four things to know before answering that question.
- Toy guns would have to look like toys. The new bill would require that toy guns be manufactured in colors other than black, blue, silver, or aluminum – these colors being reserved for real guns. Toys would also have to have a one-inch wide orange stripe running down the sides of the barrel and, with the exception of water guns, must have a closed barrel. Federal law already requires imitation guns to have orange plugs in the barrel, but in many cases these tips can be removed or painted over.
- Realistic-looking toy guns are a serious problem. The use of toy guns during crimes and around police has been problematic for decades. A 1990 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found more than 250 incidents between 1985 and 1989 where an officer used force on the belief that a toy gun was real. More recently, the Associated Press identified at least 25 instances since 1994 in which a police officer killed someone holding a toy gun because the officer thought it was real.
- Treating a toy gun like a real gun is already a crime. Under New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(e), it is a crime to use an imitation firearm in a manner that might lead others to believe it is real. A conviction can lead to up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- The bill is going to face tough opposition. Gov. Chris Christie, who used to be more amenable to gun control, has vetoed down bill after bill that aimed to further restrict access to guns in New Jersey. He has even attempted to loosen regulations to in some cases.
The toy gun bill isn’t the only gun control measure on the table. A second measure under consideration would require newly manufactured handguns to be micro-stamped with identifying characters and entered into a statewide handgun database, and a third seeks to seize firearms from people whom a mental health professional has deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Violating New Jersey’s strict gun laws can carry serious consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with a weapons offense or any other crime in New Jersey, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.