Tomorrow, June 7, at 2:00 p.m., the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider 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.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Linda Stender (D-22), A1216 would increase the crime of 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 could include 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.
New Jersey’s definition of “firearm” includes BB guns and air guns. If A1216 were to pass, someone who mistakenly possessed a firearm on school grounds – even a broken one – would be subject to an unforgiving prison sentence and fine. Also, parents picking up their children from school after hunting or target shooting, or to go hunting or target shooting, would also be at risk of severe punishment if they enter school grounds with a firearm unloaded and properly stored in their vehicle, even though they are not involved in criminal activity.
Firearms possession for an unlawful purpose is already a second degree crime in New Jersey, so this legislation adds nothing except cruel and unusual punishment for innocent mistakes. Please contact members of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee TODAY and respectfully urge them to vote “NO” on A1216!
|Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee|
Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-31), Chairman
Assemblyman Gilbert L. Wilson (D-5), Vice Chairman
Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano (D-1)
Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14)
Assemblyman Sean Connors (D-33)
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-20)
Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-30)
Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin (R-10)
Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-23)
Assemblyman David P. Rible (R-30)
Assemblyman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15)