A week after a man who allegedly brought a loaded gun and more than 100 rounds of ammunition was arrested in a Westfield school parking lot, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick voted no on two of eight gun bills before the Assembly Thursday.
Bramnick voted no on a bill that would require firearms licenses in the state be renewed after four years. Currently, the licenses last indefinitely unless a holder commits an act that would bar them from owning one.
The minority leader said the change could open law-abiding gun owners to undeserved criminal charges.
“If you’re one day over with an expired permit, you’re a criminal. Some people don’t dive into these things, so we have to have common-sense gun laws,” Bramnick said. “This one could put someone in a position to be a criminal if they were one day late on their firearms ID card, so I said they should just change that in the bill because other parts of the bill are good.”
In New Jersey, possessing a firearm without the requisite permit or license can carry penalties that include up to 10 years imprisonment.
Bramnick also voted against a bill that would establish a smart gun commission and, eventually, require gun stores to carry at least one smart gun.
Smart guns are firearms that include some manner of biometric lock that prevents anyone but the owner from operating them.
The bill eliminates a previous law that required gun manufacturers stop selling non-personalized handguns, as they are sometimes known, three years after smart guns become available for purchase.
Observers have said that provision prevented gun companies from developing smart guns for fear they would push their other firearms out of the market.
The law replaces the provision with one requiring retailers carry at least one smart gun 60 days after the commission approves the first such firearm.
Bramnick voted in favor of the majority of the gun bills heard by the Assembly on Thursday.
He voted in favor of bills that would, among other things, impose stricter ID requirements on ammunition purchases and require retailers to keep detailed electronic records of ammunition sales; illegalize firearm straw purchases, and create safe-storage requirements for guns.
Bramnick represents one of the few districts in the state hosting a competitive Assembly election this year.
The Westfield incident could bring gun control into the minority leader’s race against Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman.
That could be a problem for Bramnick should voters latch on to the issue. The Assemblyman has a 100% rating from the NRA.
But, Bramnick wasn’t concerned about his two no votes on Thursday affecting his chances at winning re-election.
“My record speaks for itself,” Bramnick said.