TRENTON –Senator Turner today welcomed committee approval of two measures which build upon previous efforts aimed at combating street gangs in New Jersey, saying that the two bills “continue our fight to free our communities from the scourge of street gangs.”
“We can’t just close our eyes and wish away street gangs,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “These criminals are always looking for new ways to avoid getting caught, and need to be constantly vigilant in adapting the tools we provide the police as they fight to protect our communities.”
The Senator’s first 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.
“This will help the police to crack down on straw purchases – those cases when individuals purchase guns for those who can not legally own them,” explained Senator Turner. “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 legitimately lost or stolen and used in a crime.” The Senator’s second bill, S-2470, would 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.
“It’s just common sense that individuals who can’t legally own a gun in New Jersey should also be prevented from purchasing ammunition. They have no legal use for those bullets, and this bill eliminates one more loophole that allows criminal street gangs to get their hands on ammunition,” explained 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.
S-2934 passed by a vote of 3-2 while S-2470 passed by a vote of 4-1. Both bills now head for consideration by the full Senate.