TRENTON – Vowing to “continue fighting until all of our communities are free from the scourge of street gangs,” Senator Shirley K. Turner announced two new pieces of legislation today aimed at allowing law enforcement to better solve and prevent future gun crimes.
“We need to be constantly vigilant in our fight to curb the threat of street gangs,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “These criminals are always looking for new ways to avoid getting caught, and we need to provide law enforcement with the latest tools to protect our communities.”
The first bill, S-2933, would require all newly manufactured handguns sold in New Jersey to be micro-stamped. Micro-stamping uses a laser to etch minute details onto small objects. In the case of handguns, the firing pin can be micro-stamped, which would then transfer those identifying details onto the casing of any bullet fired from the gun. The array of characters or imprints on the casing could then be utilized by law enforcement to identify the make, model and serial number of the handgun, Senator Turner said.
“Every shot fired would be instantly traceable to the gun from which it was fired. Hopefully gang bangers will think twice before pulling the trigger, but if not, then we have another tool to help police track down the gun used and the shooter,” explained Senator Turner.
The second 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.
“The onus is now on gun owners to let us know when a legal gun could be in the hands of a criminal. It gives the police a better starting point for tracking down these illegally owned guns while protecting the original owner from liability if the gun is used in a crime,” added Senator Turner.
Senator Turner noted that these two bills 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.
But Senator Turner said she will continue to press ahead before the end of the term for enactment of her bills, S-2470, to make it illegal to purchase bullets without a gun permit; S-1756, to increase penalties for recruiting people into gangs and S-2017, to protect the identity in court papers of crime victims and witnesses.