TRENTON – Governor Corzine signed a pair of bills into law yesterday sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner which will combat street gangs in New Jersey by cracking down on the number of “straw” purchases of handguns and ammunition.
“The people who make straw purchases are just as responsible for gun crime as the gang members who pull the trigger,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Now the law will reflect the realities we face in ridding our streets of the scourge of gang violence by cracking down on those who purchase handguns and ammo for criminals.”
The first bill signed, S-2934, will require the owner of a firearm that has been lost or stolen to immediately report that loss to their local police department, or the State Police if there is no local police department. The law also specifies that the legal owner of a lost or stolen firearm will not be civilly liable for any damages resulting from a crime in which the lost or stolen firearm was used if the legal owner complied with the bill’s reporting requirement.
“We must constantly devise and implement new ways in getting illegal guns off of our streets and putting violent criminals behind bars,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Gang violence will not go away on its own – it’s only through the never-ending vigilance of the law enforcement community that we will keep our neighborhoods safe.”
The second bill signed, S-2470, will prevent the sale of handgun ammunition in New Jersey to anyone who doesn’t hold one of the following: a valid firearms purchaser identification card; a certified copy of a permit to purchase a handgun; a valid permit to carry a handgun; a valid New Jersey hunting license; or valid documentation identifying the purchaser as a federal, state or local law enforcement officer authorized to possess a firearm.
According to Senator Turner, straw purchases occur when individuals who can legally purchase guns buy them for individuals who are prohibited from owning a firearm.
Senator Turner noted that these two law build upon several other anti-gang measures she has sponsored that have been signed into law including her full-cash bail law for violent crimes, (S-643), her mandatory prison term law for possession of community guns, (S-2009), and her source-of-bail money law, (S-2012), as effective anti-gang statutes.