Just before leaving office Tuesday for good, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill (S3477/A5200) banning bump stocks.
Effective immediately, it is now illegal to sell or possess the popular rifle accessory. The ban also extends to trigger cranks.
Violators of the new law face stiff penalties, including three-to-five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
There is no grandfather clause for current bump stock owners. Those who own the devices will have 90 days, until April 15, to turn them over to law enforcement. Retailers who sell bump stocks have 30 days.
The actual use of bump stocks was already prohibited in New Jersey, NJ.com reports. Hobbyists and collectors could own the device, however, they could not affix it to a rifle. Now, under the new law, the mere sale or possession is a crime.
“These are simple, easy-to-use devices that increase the firepower and killing power of firearms,” said former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) who sponsored the bill before he retired last week. “There is no legitimate need for these devices.”
Christie offered no comment when signing the bill, which sailed through both Democratically-controlled chambers last month. Not really known for being a pro-gun politician, Christie’s 2A stance has nevertheless evolved over the years.
In a 2016 interview with Sean Hannity, the Republican governor explained why he changed his mind, going from supporting gun control to opposing it.
“Well listen, in 1995, Sean, I was 32 years old and I’ve changed my mind,” Christie said. “And the biggest reason that I changed my mind was my seven years as a federal prosecutor. What I learned in those seven years was that we were spending much too much time talking about gun laws against law-abiding citizens and not nearly enough time talking about enforcing the gun laws strongly against criminals.”
“I learned the difference, and I learned what the limitations are of these laws that people are talking about and how they much, much more greatly infringe on law-abiding citizens than they do anything to prevent crime,” Christie added later. “Having learned that, my position’s changed.”
Where was this sound logic when he signed the bump stock ban? Anyways, New Jersey now joins Massachusetts, which also recently voted to ban bump stocks. Other states, like New York and Connecticut, are also angling to criminalize bump stocks this year.