NJ Magazine Ban Doesn't Exempt Cops

When police officers in the Garden State go off duty, their on-duty magazines become a felony.

Officials in New Jersey have realized, after the law went into effect, that it does not provide an exemption for off-duty police officers.
Officials in New Jersey have realized, after the law went into effect, that it does not provide an exemption for off-duty police officers.photo from NBC26.com

We reported recently that a new magazine ban recently went into effect in New Jersey, limiting legal possession for semi-auto mags to a 10-round capacity. The state had a 15-round magazine capacity limit for a number of years.

Residents were ordered to either turn in their 10+ magazines, permanently alter them to hold only 10 rounds, or store them with someone out of state. The penalties are high, with a potential 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for each magazine that violates the new law.

However, the news since the ban went into effect on Dec. 10 shows that this law is no better crafted or written than any of the state’s gun laws.

First up are reports from Ammoland.com, which contacted the state Attorney General's office and State Police numerous times. They've been told that there have been no orders issued regarding the enforcement of the new law and unnamed sources in the state police told them that there have been no magazines turned into authorities and that they have received no direction or guidance from the AG's office on enforcement.

Additionally, someone finally realized that the law held no exemption for police officers in the state (something gun rights advocates noticed a while back).

“You’re taking the ability away from the cops to possess the rounds they may need in a gun battle…That’s insane.”

- —Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik

As the law is written, once a police officer is off duty, his or her 15- or 17-round duty magazines become illegal and they have to abide by the same magazine capacity restrictions as everyone else in New Jersey while carrying off duty.

A leaked memo out of Bergen County to law enforcement signed by Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said that violating the law would result in a fourth-degree crime, even for police officers.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law in June.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik even slammed the law and its extension to police officers on Fox & Friends calling the it "outrageous" and saying it puts officers at risk. New York City has some extremely strict firearms laws that prevent most residents from even owning a long gun, let alone a handgun.

“You’re taking the ability away from the cops to possess the rounds they may need in a gun battle…That’s insane,” Kerik said.

One could argue that the law also takes away the ability from an average citizen exercising their Second Amendment rights to possess the rounds they may need in a home defense situation, which one could also call “insane.”

"It's one thing if you violate a rule of a department," Kerik added. "But this is a law. A criminal law, and it makes you, then, a criminal. So, this is just crazy."

Considering it seems very few residents actually surrendered or modified their magazines, the police are in the same boat as more than 1 million N.J. residents who became felons overnight. Ammoland reports that estimates say there are about 10 million magazine still in the Garden State that violate the new law.

Reports have said that an amendment to the law exempting police officers is in the works, but for now, the law is the law.