TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine today signed an Executive Order that establishes a Task Force to review, evaluate and make any appropriate recommendations to improve the effectiveness of New Jersey's firearms laws and programs. It will also consider the current criminal penalties for illegal transfer of guns, programmatic measures to curb illegal transfers of firearms, and the firearm permitting and regulatory processes.
Below is text of the full Executive Order:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 145
WHEREAS, protecting the public safety and welfare is the most basic duty of government, and to this end, effective and reasonable measures must be implemented to keep citizens safe from violence; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey has taken a variety of steps to combat gun violence, including requiring prison terms for those who use firearms in crimes; regulating the sale and transfer of guns to ensure that firearms are being purchased only by law-abiding citizens; imposing restrictions on handgun purchases; and barring the sale of assault firearms; and
WHEREAS, effective limitations regarding firearms, as well as other deterrent and enforcement measures, are essential to maintaining the public safety, but necessarily impact all residents of this State, including law-abiding collectors of firearms and competitive and recreational firearms users; and
WHEREAS, in 2007, New Jersey entered into a cooperative agreement, the first of its kind in the nation, forming a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow New Jersey State Police direct access to "E-TRACE" data, to trace illegal firearms back to their source as yet another measure to uncover gun crimes and deter illegal gun trafficking; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate to maintain a dialogue with interested parties and experts regarding the effectiveness of our State's firearms laws in combating gun violence and the impact of these restrictions on law-abiding firearms owners;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
1. There is hereby established a Task Force to review, evaluate and make recommendations regarding New Jersey's statutory and regulatory schemes and programmatic initiatives to curb the illegal possession, use, and trafficking of firearms and, more specifically, the anticipated passage of "one-handgun-per-month" legislation, criminal penalties for illegal transfer of guns, programmatic measures to curb illegal transfers of firearms, and the firearm permitting and regulatory processes (collectively, "firearms regulation").
2. The Task Force recommendations shall address at a minimum the following issues: the permitting processes; the effectiveness of any statutory limitations on the sale and transfer of firearms, including the anticipated passage of one-handgun-per-month legislation and the efficacy of any exceptions contained in that legislation; and measures to deter "straw purchases" and the illegal transport of guns into New Jersey for purposes of transfer. The recommendations shall include specific suggestions to improve the effectiveness of firearms regulation in these areas and shall include any appropriate recommendations for legislative changes.
3. The Task Force shall be composed of nine members. Membership shall include the Attorney General or designee, the Superintendent of State Police or designee, and a representative of the County Prosecutors' Association. Additionally, the Task Force shall include one member representing an association of pistol and rifle clubs operating in New Jersey and one member representing an organization that promotes gun violence prevention, which members are to be appointed by the Governor. Additionally, the Task Force shall include two member of the Senate, one of whom with experience with firearms and firearms restrictions, to be selected by the President of the Senate; and two members of the General Assembly, one of whom with experience with firearms and firearms restrictions, to be selected by the Speaker of the General Assembly. Vacancies on the Task Force shall be filled in the same manner as the original selections. The non-legislative members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and without compensation. The Governor shall appoint the Chair of the Task Force. The members shall select a Vice-Chair through a majority vote.
4. The Task Force members shall be appointed and convene within thirty days of the effective date of this Order. The Task Force shall complete an initial report within 90 days of its first meeting. The initial report shall be served on the Governor and Legislature so as to allow responsive action within the current legislative session. The initial report shall focus on the anticipated passage of "one-handgun-per-month" legislation in New Jersey, including its impact on firearms collectors and competitive and recreational firearms users. The initial report shall include recommendations for any appropriate legislative changes to ensure that lawful firearms collectors and competitive and recreational firearms users are not adversely affected by the legislation, including the exceptions to the one-handgun limitation contained in Section 2(i) of General Assembly Bill No. 339 (2008) (First Reprint) and Senate Bill No. 1774 (2008). The Task Force shall produce its final report no later than 18 months after delivery of its initial report. At a minimum, the report shall include an analysis of the impact of the one-handgun-per-month legislation on gun crime and the prevalence of illegal firearms in New Jersey.
5. In furtherance of its mission, the Task Force shall be authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or agency of this State to supply it with any available information, personnel, or assistance as it deems necessary to discharge its duties under this Order. Each department, office, division, or agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate fully with the Task Force and to furnish it with such available information, personnel, or assistance on as timely a basis as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. The Task Force may consult with experts or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector on any aspect of its mission.
6. In order that the Task Force be informed of and consider a broad range of views and experiences in the course of its work, the Task Force shall convene at least one public hearing.
7. This Order shall take effect immediately.