(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Charles Mainor and Gordon Johnson to make the use of a defaced or stolen firearm to injure a police officer a crime, and toughen the penalties for defacing a firearm was approved Thursday by an Assembly committee.
The bill, designated Marc Anthony’s Law, is named after Jersey City Police Detective Marc Anthony DiNardo who died from injuries sustained during a shootout with suspected robbers in 2009.
The bill was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
“Police officers like Dt. DiNardo put their lives on the line every day to protect others,” said Mainor (D-Hudson), who chairs the committee. “Police work is inherently risky. This bill hopes to reduce that risk and prevent officers from becoming targets by criminalizing the use of these firearms to harm police officers, and enhancing the penalties for defacing or possessing a defaced firearm.”
“Law enforcement officers ensure public safety by essentially putting their own at risk,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Yes, it is part of the job, but it is a job that not everyone can or is willing to do. We should extend every possible protection to our law enforcement officers who face danger on a routine basis. Not just for the officers, but the families they leave behind when tragedy strikes.”
The bill (A-823) would make it a first degree crime to use a defaced or stolen firearm to cause serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, and a second degree crime to use a defaced or stolen firearm to cause bodily injury to a law enforcement officer.
The bill also increases the penalties for defacing a firearm and for acquiring or possessing a defaced firearm. Under the bill, the penalty for defacing a firearm is upgraded from a third degree crime to a second degree crime, which is punishable for a term of imprisonment between five and 10 years; a fine of up to $150,000; or both. The penalty for acquiring or possessing a defaced firearm is upgraded from a crime of the fourth degree to a crime of the third degree, which is punishable for a term of imprisonment between three and five years; a fine of up to $15,000; or both.