A New Jersey state assemblyman has introduced a bill that would allow the government to seize the home or car of anyone whose property contains an illegal firearm.
The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Louis Manzo, D-Jersey City, authorizes the forfeiture of “motor vehicle, building or premise” if a firearm is found in it that is not possessed legally per state law – “even if the firearm was not possessed by the owner of the motor vehicle, building or premise,” states a summary of the bill, A3998. The legislation was introduced Thursday.
Manzo pointed out his bill extends government power now reserved for targeting those in possession of illegal drugs.
“If we will do this when someone is caught with illegal drugs, it only makes sense that we should do it for when someone has an illegal weapon,” Manzo told the Hudson Reporter.
“We currently allow this to take place when illegal drugs are found. This is to keep a landlord or someone driving the car from turning a blind eye to the drugs people in an apartment or passenger in the car is doing,” he said. “I think if a landlord knows there is an illegal gun in the house, he or she should do something about it. And this may encourage someone driving a car to keep a person from carrying a gun.”
Under the proposed law, an unlicensed machine gun, handgun, rifle or shotgun are considered illegal.
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, slammed the proposal.
“It looks like [Manzo] is going to have a go at the Second Amendment and the Fifth Amendment,” said Pratt, referring to constitutional rights involving firearms and private property. “Way to go – a ‘two-fer’!”
Pratt told WND police skullduggery could cause law-abiding citizens to lose their property.
“So if an officer plants a gun in your home, you lose your house,” he said. “It’s the same drill they’ve been using in the war against drugs. Now they want to use the same tactics against people who have a gun for self-defense.”
Of the bill, Pratt stated, “I hope it’s going nowhere, but you never know with New Jersey.”
Manzo compared the cost of his proposal to a current gun buyback program.
“This is one more tool that law enforcement can use in an effort to do away with illegal weapons,” he told the Hudson Reporter. “Unlike the buyback program, this doesn’t cost the taxpayers money to get rid of illegal guns.”