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Posted on June 8, 2012
Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee considered Assembly Bill 1216, legislation that would increase the penalty for possession of a “firearm” on the grounds of an educational institution, raising it from a third degree crime to a second degree crime. This committee passed this unnecessary legislation by a 7 to 4 party-line vote.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Linda Stender (D-22), A1216 would increase the penalty for having a firearm or weapon on the grounds of an educational institution from a third to a second degree crime. Second degree crimes carry a prison sentence of five to ten years and/or a fine up to $150,000, with no opportunity for New Jersey’s “pre-trial intervention” leniency program, and very limited sentencing discretion by the judge.
Stender attempted to address some gun owner concerns by offering last minute amendments to exempt possession of BB guns and air guns from the Draconian penalties in A1216. But no protections were added to protect holders of firearms identification cards or hunting licenses who still remain at risk of lengthy prison sentences for innocent mistakes under this ill-conceived legislation.
Firearms possession for an unlawful purpose is already a second degree crime in New Jersey, so this legislation adds nothing except excessive punishment for innocent mistakes.
The following Assemblymen voted AGAINST A1216:
The following Assemblymen voted FOR A1216:
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