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Greenwald: Violent Drug Gang Bust Shows Need for Assembly Gun Violence Prevention Bills

New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Wednesday on preventing gun violence in New Jersey, after federal authorities announced a roundup of a violent street gang distributing heroin in Atlantic City:

“The outstanding work done by our federal, state and local law enforcement to take down this violent drug gang deserves nothing but the highest praise. However, these arrests bring another potentially deadly problem to light. Critical gaps in New Jersey’s gun laws currently allow many convicted criminals to obtain the means to terrorize our streets with gun violence and dangerous criminal activity far too easily.

“While many convicted felons are barred from purchasing firearms, some of these same criminals can still easily purchase firearms ammunition. This dangerous reality is the latest evidence why New Jersey needs the Assembly package of legislation to prevent gun violence, which closes this dangerous gap in the law.

“A 2007 report from the State Commission of Investigation which randomly surveyed 60 retail outlets across 19 New Jersey counties found that 43 stores (nearly 75%) sold ammunition to people with criminal records. At one store alone, more than 15,000 rounds of handgun ammunition were sold to 42 convicted felons over a four-year period.

“Enough is enough. The time to get serious about preventing gun violence in New Jersey is long overdue, and that is why we need the Assembly package of legislation to become law.”

Part of a 22-bill package to prevent gun violence in New Jersey, A-1683 (Johnson) would close this dangerous gap in state law, prohibiting persons convicted of the following crimes from purchasing or possessing ammunition: aggravated assault, burglary, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, hate crimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, racketeering, terrorism and other crimes.