Assemblyman Reed Gusciora on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent illegal guns from flooding city streets by cracking down on gun thieves.
The legislation, which is also sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, would increase the possibility of prison time for anyone found guilty of possessing a stolen gun.
“Our main concern, and the goal of this bill, is to get illegal guns off our streets, especially in Trenton,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “A significant amount of illegal guns on the street today are stolen. I think the problem and the solution we’re proposing is something both Democrats and Republicans can truly agree upon.”
Theft of a firearm is a third degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, three to five years in prison, or both. However, under current law, first-time third and fourth degree offenders are typically sentenced to probation rather than imprisonment upon conviction.
Under Gusciora’s bill, the presumption of non-imprisonment would be eliminated and the list of crimes to which the presumption does not apply would be expanded to include theft of a firearm.
“We need to send a clearer message that if you steal a gun, you’re not getting away with a slap on the wrist,” added Gusciora. “Law-abiding gun owners aren’t walking around with stolen guns. It’s the criminals terrorizing our neighborhoods who are doing so with stolen guns. And every time they’re caught with one, we want to ensure that they’re not going to be right back out on the street.”
In keeping with the bipartisan nature of the bill, Gusciora also gave credit to former 14th district Assembly Republican candidate Steve Cook for proposing the idea during the last campaign season.