Girgenti: Illegal Gun Possession, Not Worth The Penalty In New Jersey

Senator John A. Girgenti, D-Passaic and Bergen, Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, listens to testimony before the Committee.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator John A. Girgenti to impose harsh penalties for those who unlawfully possess assault weapons and machine guns, was approved by the Senate Law Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee today.

“We have done a lot to reduce many types of crime in our State, but crimes committed with guns are still rising and tougher laws are needed to control the gun problem,” said Senator Girgenti, D-Bergen and Passaic, and Chairman of the panel. “This is another necessary part of the ‘Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods’ package that we began working on last session. In order to truly make our streets safe we need to continue to enact initiatives that prevent crime by increasing enforcement, focusing on prevention and providing re-entry opportunities for ex-convicts.”

This bill, S-1304, would upgrade the offense for the unlawful possession of an assault weapon or machine gun to a crime of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment of between five and 10 years, a fine of up to $150,000, or both.

“Last session, we enacted a measure that made unlawful handgun possession a crime of the second degree and this bill would create a uniform penalty for illegally having all types of dangerous guns,” said Senator Girgenti. “This bill is part of the Governor’s anti crime package and an important step in continuing our efforts to restore and strengthen safety and security on our streets.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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