Lawmakers advance anti-crime, anti-gang measures

January 3, 2008 5:34:37 PM PST
Several measures to crack down on gun crimes and gang activity advanced in the Legislature on Thursday.

One bill regulates the sale of handgun ammunition. Only those who hold valid permits to buy or carry handguns would be able to buy handgun ammunition under the measure. Gun collectors with valid relics licenses would be exempt.

A second bill would require handgun thefts to be reported within 36 hours after they are discovered. Failure to do so would result in a $500 fine.

Two other proposals would increase the penalties for illegal possession of handguns and gun trafficking to up to $150,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.

Currently, gun trafficking is usually prosecuted as a violation of the state's licensing statutes, which carry penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and 18 months in jail.

The bills head to the full Assembly for consideration on Monday.

The fifth proposal would create two new gang-related offenses: gang criminality and promoting organized street crime.

The penalty would vary, depending on the degree of the crime, but would be served consecutive to time imposed for other crimes.

That bill, which has been amended, must be acted on by both the Assembly and Senate on Monday, the last day of the current legislative session. If it fails to pass then, it will have to be reintroduced after the Legislature reconvenes.