(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Shavonda Sumter, Benjie Wimberly, Joe Danielsen and Angelica Jimenez to prohibit individuals convicted of carjacking, gang criminality, racketeering and terroristic threat from purchasing or owning a firearm in New Jersey was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.
“Guns are fatal when in the wrong hands,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill can help keep guns away from individuals who have shown a clear disregard for their fellow man and the law.”
“These are violent offenses perpetuated by dangerous individuals,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “A person who has committed any of the crimes specified in this bill has forfeited his or her right to own a gun.”
“Guns can escalate an already bad situation,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Individuals who have been convicted of such violent crimes should not be trusted to be responsible gun owners.”
“Gun ownership requires a sense of responsibility that these individuals clearly lack,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “For the sake of public safety, it is best that they be prohibited from owning a gun.”
“Giving violent individuals access to guns is asking for trouble,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “These are serious offenses. Anyone capable of committing any of these crimes should not be allowed to own a gun.”
The bill (A-4182) would add carjacking, gang criminality, racketeering and terroristic threat convictions to the list of crimes that under current law would prohibit an individual from purchasing or owning a gun in the state. Current law disqualifies a person who has been convicted of certain serious crimes from purchasing or owning firearms. These crimes include: aggravated assault; arson; burglary; escape; extortion; homicide; kidnapping; robbery; aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; bias intimidation; endangering the welfare of a child; stalking; a crime involving domestic violence; certain crimes related to unlawful possession of weapons; and certain crimes related to controlled dangerous substances. Under this law, a person who has been convicted of any of these offenses and who possesses or owns a firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Second degree crimes are punishable by a fine of up to $150,000, a term of imprisonment of five to 10 years, or both.
Under the bill, an individual who purchases or owns a firearm, who has been convicted of any of the crimes specified in the bill, would also be guilty of a crime of the second degree.
The bill was approved 68-0-8 and now awaits further consideration by the Senate.