Trenton, NJ – State lawmakers in New Jersey passed a new gun-control law in June that prohibits police officers from carrying their firearms while off duty.
Governor Phil Murphy signed the new law in June that was part of a package of bills designed to tighten the state’s strict gun laws, according to The Star Ledger.
The law changed the state limit from 15 rounds to 10 rounds and has a 180 day grace period for people to turn in the 10+ round magazines that are now illegal.
While the law allowed exceptions for retired law enforcement, it made no such exceptions for active-duty officers who carry their service weapons while not working.
Louis Bordi, the vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, told The Star Ledger that any officer possessing a weapon that has a magazine with more than 10 rounds could be violating the law. Bordi is also the chief of police in Voorhees Township.
Bordi told The Star Ledger that most police service weapons have magazines with 12 to 17 rounds. Bordi said police officers are never completely off the clock.
"They're required to act depending on what happens in front of them, and they need to be able to protect themselves and the community, even if they're off-duty," Bordi told The Star Ledger.
The state legislature voted July 26 to approve a new bill to clarify how the high-capacity magazine ban would apply to law enforcement, according to InsiderNJ.
State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat, was the sponsor of the bill. She said the latest vote was meant to “correct an oversight” that could stop police officers from carrying their guns while off duty, according to the Star Ledger.
“This bill will allow off-duty law enforcement officers to carry a firearm with an ammunition magazine capable of holding 17 rounds of ammunition or less,” said Weinberg, according to InsiderNJ. “The important clarification is that it also allows an off-duty officer to carry a firearm with an ammunition magazine holding more than 17 rounds but only if that firearm is issued by the officer’s employer. This restriction ensures that the officer is not limited by civilian restrictions, but we also are being responsible by not giving carte blanche to an unlimited number of sanctioned large-capacity magazines.”