Legislature Approves Tougher Gun Trafficking Penalties

TRENTON — A bipartisan bill to increase penalties for illegal gun trafficking passed unanimously in the state Senate today, giving it final Legislative approval. The measure now awaits action by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

“To combat the gun violence plaguing our cities and to protect our neighborhood schools from tragedy we have to focus on preventing weapons from falling into the hands of criminals,” said state Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington). “Keeping guns away from criminals starts by cracking down on gun traffickers and the firearms dealers who illegally supply them.

The Anti-Gun Trafficking Act of 2013 upgrades penalties for gun dealers who knowingly sell a gun to those who then transfer the weapon to a person disqualified from owning a gun to a crime of the second degree. A gun dealer convicted under the statute would be subjected to an 18-month mandatory minimum sentence. If the gun was used in the commission of a crime the dealer would face a three-year mandatory minimum sentence and be permanently disqualified from obtaining another retail firearms license.

The legislation would also disqualify gun traffickers from early release from prison and require they serve at least 85 percent of a sentence before being eligible for parole.

The bill also allows for the seizure and forfeiture of motor vehicles used to illegally traffic firearms in New Jersey.

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