NJ Looks to Get Tough on Gun Theft [AUDIO]
Currently, stealing a gun in New Jersey is treated like stealing a television in the eyes of the law. If convicted of stealing a firearm, the criminal is not likely to go to jail. In a show of bipartisanship, the Assembly Democratic and Republican leaders are teaming up on legislation to get tough on gun theft in the Garden State.
"The current law is theft is a third degree crime," explained Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). "For third degrees and first time offenders basically there's a presumption of no incarceration, meaning you don't go to jail."
The new bill upgrades the crime of stealing a firearm from a third degree crime to one of the second degree. A second degree crime is punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to 10 years and a fine of $150,000, or both.
"The bill would have a minimum jail term; half of what you're sentenced to," Bramnick said. "I think the street would learn quickly that hey, you steal a gun, you go to jail. No questions asked, period."
Stealing a gun often leads to violent crimes, including the loss of life, Bramnick said. He explained the crime is far more serious than stealing property.
"This bill sends a message to criminals they will face severe consequences for stealing a firearm," Bramnick said. "This is a necessary step that will curb the incidents of violent crime."
The measure is co-sponsored by Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees).