On Monday, New Jersey became the first state in the nation today to require all new handguns sold to contain so-called "smart gun" technology.
The requirement will not go into effect immediately because the technology is still under development. It could be years before it becomes a reality.
In signing the bill, Governor McGreevey said it was time for more safety regulations on handguns. Supporters say the law will help prevent accidental gun deaths and suicides.
But opponents argue it makes little sense to legislate a technology that does not yet exist.
Here is the information from Gov. McGreevey's Office: In an effort to keep New Jersey’s children safe from gun violence, Governor James E. McGreevey signed into law Monday legislation that will require new handguns to be equipped with smart gun technology. Smart gun technology prevents anyone, except the recognized user of the gun, from firing the weapon.
“New Jersey is ahead of the rest of the nation in our effort to protect children from gun violence,” said McGreevey. “I am proud to say that we are the first state to require that child-proof, personalized technology be used on all new handguns sold. It is a common sense law, it is a smart law.”
“I would like to recognize the legislative sponsors for their leadership in getting this measure passed,” said McGreevey. “Undoubtedly, this new law is an important step forward in our efforts to keep children safe from dangerous weapons.”
The new law will require gun manufacturers to use smart gun technology on all new guns three years after the Attorney General determines that the user recognition technology is commercially available. Personalized handguns can include a sensor on the handle of the gun, fingerprint recognition, remote control, magnetic coding or radio transmitters.
Joining the Governor at the bill signing were representatives from Million Mom March, Handgun Control Inc., CeaseFire NJ, Junior League and NJEA.
Assembly Bill 700 passed the Assembly on November 18th and was sponsored by Assemblymembers Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Matt Ahearn (D-Bergen). The Senate version of the bill, S573, passed the Senate on December 16th and was sponsored by Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Senators Peter Inverso (R-Mercer, Middlesex), John Girgenti (D-Passaic, Bergen) and Joseph Palaia (R-Monmouth).
"An issue that continues to resound with New Jersey's citizens is gun control,” said Senator Codey. “New Jersey was first in an assault weapons ban, which was then picked up by the rest of the nation. I am hopeful that the childproof gun legislation being signed today by Governor McGreevey receives similar treatment, because it will save lives by ensuring only authorized users of handguns have access to their operation."
"All residents of New Jersey will benefit from the safeguards included in this law, which represents a successful balance of public safety and individual liberty," said Senator Girgenti. "I am pleased that New Jersey has seized this opportunity to become a national leader in firearm safety."
"Under the leadership of this administration and the Legislature, New Jersey again will make history which will protect our children and our families," said Assemblywoman Weinberg. "We will be able to dramatically cut the risk of accidental shootings and suicides by requiring that guns be personalized so only their owners can fire them. By taking action now, we are guaranteeing a safer future for the residents of our state and possibly saving lives."
"This law presents a logical solution to a difficult constitutional dilemma -- how do we protect children and adults from accidents while enabling law-abiding citizens to have access to handguns for legitimate purposes such as sport competition, self-defense, and recreation?" said Assemblyman Ahearn. "Personalized handgun technology needs to be pursued and promoted to accomplish this goal."