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NJ gun buyers would have to take course in responsible ownership under proposed law

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: New Jersey gun buyers would first have to successfully complete a firearms education program, under a law proposed by two Bergen County state Assembly members.

The measure introduced by Democrats Joe Lagana and Tim Eustace requires gun buyers to produce any of the following:

  • a certificate indicating satisfactory completion of a National Rifle Association firearms course;
  • a certificate that the applicant is a certified National Rifle Association Firearms Instructor;
  • a copy of a firearms or hunting license or permit from any other jurisdiction that requires the holder to successfully complete a substantially equivalent firearms education program;
  • Equivalent training through law enforcement or military service;
  • any other documentation, certificate, or certification deemed substantially equivalent by the New Jersey State Police superintendent.

The bill makes the superintendent responsible for developing the program curriculum and certificate, which would be required for an initial application for a firearms purchaser identification card or initial permit to purchase a handgun but not for a renewal of a card or permit.

The aim is to educate prospective licensed gun owners on “responsible firearm ownership, safe storage, how to restrict access to firearms by unsupervised minors, and any other matters concerning gun safety,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

“In order to effectively prevent unnecessary gun violence, gun safety must be taught and not just encouraged with pamphlets and handbooks” Lagana said.

“Gun accidents have claimed far too many innocent lives far too often in this country,” Lagana added. “Diligence in promoting the safe use and storage of firearms will save more lives in the future from gun violence.”

“The most devastating gun accident stories are of innocent children who find unsecured firearms of relatives,” Eustace said. “This legislation educates prospective gun owners on how to keep themselves and their families safe while owning a firearm.”

Lagana and Eustace, who say they are both gun owners, have submitted the bill (A-3764) to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

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