Trenton – In an effort to crack down on illegal gun sales, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today passed legislation 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 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.
“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 disincentivize the sale of illegal firearms at every opportunity.”
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.
The bill passed committee by a vote of 12-0.