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Fuentes & Spencer Bill to Help Prevent Legal Firearms from Ending up in Criminals Hands Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angel Fuentes and L. Grace Spencer prohibiting individuals convicted of failing to report a loss or stolen firearm from purchasing a handgun for a certain period of time was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

The bill (A-1116) prohibits any person convicted for failing to report the loss or theft of a firearm from purchasing a handgun for a period of 180 days from the date of conviction.

“Requiring gun owners to report loss or stolen guns helps prevent straw buyers from buying guns for individuals who would otherwise not be eligible,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This bill adds another layer of accountability and further helps deter straw purchases by imposing a time restriction for owners who have failed to report a missing gun – before they can buy another weapon.”

“Losing a gun is not like losing a pair of gloves. If it ends up in the wrong hands, the consequences can be deadly. If the gun was purchased legally and for legitimate reasons, there is no reason why the owner should not report it lost or stolen,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “This bills targets those individuals who purposely fail to report missing or stolen guns for nefarious reasons.”

The bill is part of the bill is part of the Assembly Democratic gun violence prevention package.

Current law states that the legal owner of a firearm, upon discovering that the firearm is lost or stolen, must report the loss or theft within 36 hours to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality where the loss or theft occurred or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, to the Superintendent of State Police. A person who violates this law shall be liable to a civil penalty of not less than $500 for a first offense, and not less than $1,000 for any second or subsequent offense.

The bill was approved 52-23 by the Assembly and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.