TRENTON – The State Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Turner which builds upon her previous efforts aimed at combating street gangs in New Jersey by cracking down on the number of “straw” purchases of handguns.
“In order to rid our streets of the scourge of street gangs, we must continue to implement new ways in which to get illegal guns off of our streets and keep violent criminals behind bars,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “These criminals are always looking for new ways to avoid getting caught, even going as far as involving those without criminal records in their plans and need to be constantly vigilant in protecting our communities.”
The Senator’s bill, S-2934, would 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 bill also specifies that the legal owner of a lost or stolen firearm would 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.
“Straw purchases – when people who can legally purchase guns buy them for individuals who are prohibited from opening a firearm – are a growing problem for law enforcement as they work to decrease the number of illegal guns on the streets,” explained Senator Turner. “This measure will give the police a better starting point for tracking down these illegally owned guns while protecting the original owner from liability if the gun is legitimately lost or stolen and used in a crime.”
Senator Turner noted that this bill builds 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.
S-2934 passed by a vote of 26-7 and now heads to the Assembly.