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Colt Match Target/Springfield M1A

Attorney General's Directive, March 31, 1997

Both the Division of Criminal Justice and the State Police Firearms Unit have received a number of inquiries whether the Colt Match Target Rifle and the Springfield M1A are considered assault firearms under New Jersey law.

Based on our review of the law and the Attorney General guidelines, we conclude that neither of the two firearms are prohibited under State law.

The Colt Match Target Rifle, based on the manufacturer’s specifications, is a new line of rifles and is not part of the AR-15 series, and thus, is not prohibited under N.J.S.A.2 C: 39-1w(1).

Although this new rifle, may resemble the Colt AR-15, there have been substantial changes to the firearm, including the receiver which is not identical to an AR-15 receiver.

In addition, because of changes in the configuration of the firearm, the Colt Match Target Rifle is not substantially identical to a prohibited firearm and prohibited under this classification.

See N.J.S.A.2C:39-1w(2) and Attorney General’s Guidelines Regarding the “Substantially Identical” Provision in the State’s Assault Firearms Laws dated August 19, 1996.

The Springfield M1A is not one of the enumerated firearms which are specifically prohibited under the State’s assault firearms laws. It has been prohibited in this State as being substantially identical to a named firearm.

However, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, the M1A has been modified. The modified M1A, which became available in 1994, would not be considered to be substantially identical to a prohibited firearm in accordance with the statutory provision and the Attorney General’s guidelines cited above.

However, earlier versions of the M1A which contains at least two of the criteria identified in Paragraph B of the Attorney General’s Guidelines, supra, would still be considered to be substantially identical to a prohibited firearm and continue to be banned under our State law.

As a result, it will be necessary to clearly distinguish the physical characteristics or lack of physical characteristics when making a determination regarding the M1A rifle.

Neither this clarification regarding the classification of the Colt Match Target Rifle and the M1A Rifle, nor the guidelines issued August 19, 1996, regarding the “substantially identical” provision of the assault weapons law applies to firearms that are specifically listed in N.J.S.A.2C:39-1w(2) as prohibited firearms or to firearms which are banned at “types” of named prohibited firearms.

If you have any questions regarding the classification of these two firearms, please contact the:

State Police Firearms Unit at 609-882-2000

or

Deputy Attorney General William J. Zaorski at 609-984-2796.

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