Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission (PHAC) has taken a major step forward by defining the features of smart guns to be made available for sale in New Jersey.
PHAC’s members have now established that manufacturers seeking to be added to the State’s personalized handgun roster must demonstrate the handguns have reliable personalization technology, features to avoid accidental discharge or damage, and comply with state and federal law.
In a study released in June, Injury Epidemiology, a scientific journal, found most children who die in accidental shootings were playing with the weapons and in more than 90% of those incidents the guns were left unlocked and loaded.
About 64% of the accidental gun deaths, the study found, happened at the victim’s home and, in most cases, the gun belonged to a relative.
“Parents often believe that their child knows not to pick up a firearm if they find one or mistakenly believe their child can differentiate between real firearms and toy firearms,” the study noted, but data suggests “that children continue to die from injuries sustained while playing with firearms or mistaking real firearms for toys.”
PHAC was established by P.L. 19-164, which requires New Jersey gun dealers to make available for sale at least one gun from the State’s personalized handgun roster. PHAC is responsible for developing a roster of available smart guns. Under the new standards, PHAC will evaluate applications to be placed on the roster. To be included on the roster, a handgun must meet the performance standards and qualifying criteria established by PHAC, based on testing methods PHAC formulates. PHAC will next design the application process for manufacturers to seek inclusion on the personalized handgun roster.
PHAC is composed of the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Health, and the Superintendent of the State Police or their designees, as well as public members appointed by the Governor. By statute, they include a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a representative of a New Jersey chapter of an organization that advocates for Second Amendment rights, and a representative of an organization that advocates against handgun violence.