New Jersey lawmakers consider anti-crime bills

January 7, 2008 9:57:30 AM PST
The Legislature will wrap up its two-year session Monday with consideration of several measures cracking down on gun crimes and gang activity. 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.

Another 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.

Those bills must be acted on by the Senate and Assembly. If they fail to pass both houses, they have to be reintroduced after the Legislature reconvenes.

Three other anti-crime bills are up for consideration in the Assembly.

One requires 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 - 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.