The legislative crackdown on gun ownership in New Jersey had unintended consequences last year as gun sales actually rose throughout the state.
According to federal data, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed more than 120,000 background checks in New Jersey last year. The federal government mandates the background checks anytime a person tries to purchase a firearm.
The number of automatic background checks in New Jersey last year represented a significant rise from totals in previous years. There were less than 86,000 background checks in 2012 and just over 60,000 background checks in 2011.
An executive director with the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs stated that the increase in background checks suggests that gun owners are responding to legislative attacks by purchasing firearms while they still can. The group believes that legislators are misguided in trying to crack down on law-abiding gun owners instead of focusing their efforts on criminals who attempt to illegally possess weapons.
However, it is worth noting that background checks don’t account for all gun sales; they are triggered only for public sales of guns. This means that we still do not have access to verifiable data on the total number of private gun sales in New Jersey last year. Additionally, the number of automatic background checks does not necessarily equal the total number of gun purchases because not everyone who undergoes a background check winds up buying a gun.
It is also surely relevant that despite the rise in automatic background checks last year, New Jersey still ranks near the bottom among states in gun ownership.
For more information, read the NJ.com article entitled “Gun Background Checks Spiked in 2013 as Jersey Debated Gun Control.“
If you are facing gun possession charges in New Jersey, contact Morristown NJ criminal defense attorney Alissa D. Hascup for a free consultation about your case.