Trenton – In an effort to crack down on illegal gun sales, the Senate today advanced a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Linda Greenstein to expand culpability requirements for unlawful firearms trafficking violations.
“Approximately 80 percent of crime guns traced in New Jersey come from out of state. We must continue to hold gun traffickers responsible for their role in perpetuating gun violence,” said Senator Singleton (D- Burlington). “Increasing the penalties of gun traffickers will aid in deterring and holding traffickers responsible for the risk they pose to residents. This legislation will specifically target traffickers that pose a severe threat to the safety of residents through illegal gun transfers and sales.”
The first bill, S-3150, known as the “Real Accountability for Consequences of Unlawful Trafficking of Firearms Act,” would establish the violation of “firearms trafficking,” and put in place strict liability criminal penalties for firearm trafficking that results in bodily injury or death.
Under the bill, a “firearms trafficking violation” would include the transfer of a firearm to someone without a handgun permit, without a firearms purchaser identification card, or who is barred from possessing a firearm. Any person who purposely commits any firearm trafficking violation would be held responsible for any death or bodily injury that results from the discharge of the firearm and would be guilty of a crime of the first or second degree.
“This kind of legislation is lifesaving, keeping guns out of the hands of bad actors who should never have been able to access these illegal and dangerous weapons in the first place,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We have a duty to keep these crime guns out of the wrong hands and dis-incentivize the sale of illegal firearms at every opportunity.”
The second bill, S-3085, provides that any person who knowingly or recklessly sells firearms without the license to do so would be guilty of a crime in the fourth degree. Any licensed dealer who sells a firearm to a person when the dealer knows or reasonably should have known that the individual would transfer or sell the firearm to a disqualified person is guilty of a crime in the second degree.
The bills were released from the Senate by votes of 37-0 and 22-14, respectively.