ASSEMBLY, No. 464

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

208th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 1998 SESSION



Sponsored by:

Assemblyman LOUIS D. GREENWALD

District 6 (Camden)

Assemblyman FRANCIS J. BLEE

District 2 (Atlantic)

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Barnes and Conners







SYNOPSIS

Establishes "weapons free" school zones.

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.



(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 5/7/1999)

An Act to establish "weapons free" school zones, and amending N.J.S.2C:39-5.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. N.J.S.2C:39-5 is amended to read as follows:

2C:39-5. Unlawful Possession of Weapons.

a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-5, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

b. Handguns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

c. Rifles and shotguns. (1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(2) Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

d. Other weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

e. Firearms or other weapons in educational institutions.

(1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.

(2) Any person who knowingly possesses any weapon enumerated in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 or any components which can readily be assembled into a firearm or other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 or any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful use as it may have, while in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational

institution without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(3) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any imitation firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, or while on any school bus is a disorderly person, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry a firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.

f. Assault firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession an assault firearm is guilty of a crime of the third degree except if the assault firearm is licensed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-5; registered pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c.32 (C.2C:58-12) or rendered inoperable pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1990, c.32 (C.2C:58-13).

g. The temporary possession of a handgun, rifle or shotgun by a person receiving, possessing, carrying or using the handgun, rifle, or shotgun under the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1992, c.74 (C.2C:58-3.1) shall not be considered unlawful possession under the provisions of subsection b. or c. of this section.

h. (1) Any person who (a) knowingly has in his possession any weapon while in or within 1,000 feet from the outermost boundaries of buildings or grounds owned or leased by any school, college, university or other educational institution and used for school purposes and (b) possesses that weapon in violation of any law of this State is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(2) It shall not be a defense to a prosecution for a violation of this subsection that the actor was unaware that the prohibited possession took place while in or upon any part of the buildings of any school, college, university or other educational institution or within 1,000 feet from school property. It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this subsection that no juveniles or students were present on the school property at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

(3) In a prosecution under this subsection, a map produced or reproduced by any municipal or county engineer for the purpose of depicting the location and boundaries of the buildings or grounds owned by or leased to any school, school board, college, university or other educational institution and used for school purposes, or within 1,000 feet from the outermost boundaries of those buildings or grounds, or a true copy of such a map, shall be admissible upon proper authentication, and shall constitute prima facie evidence of the location and boundaries of those areas, provided that the governing body of the municipality or county has adopted a resolution or ordinance approving the map as the official finding and record of the location and boundaries of those areas. Any map approved pursuant to this section may be changed from time to time by the governing body of the municipality or county. The original of every map approved or revised pursuant to this section, or a true copy thereof, shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality or county, and shall be maintained as an official record of the municipality or county. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the prosecution from introducing or relying upon any other evidence or testimony to establish any element of this offense; nor shall this section be construed to preclude the use or admissibility of any map or diagram other than one which has been approved by the governing body of a municipality or county, provided that the map or diagram is otherwise admissible pursuant to the Rules of Evidence.

(4) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply any person who, in conformance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:39-6, N.J.S.2C:58-4 or any other provisions of law, is permitted or authorized to possess a weapon.

(5) (a) Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to preclude, if the evidence so warrants, an indictment and conviction for a violation of N.J.S.2C:39-3 concerning the possession of a prohibited weapon or device; N.J.S.2C:39-4 concerning the possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose; or the provisions of this section concerning the unlawful possession of a weapon.

(b.) Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this subsection shall not merge with a conviction for any other violation of this section or for a violation of N.J.S.2C:39-3 or N.J.S.2C:39-4.

(c.) Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, any such multiple sentences of imprisonment imposed pursuant to subparagraph (b.) of this paragraph shall run consecutively.

(cf: P.L.1995, c.389, s.1)

2. This act shall take effect immediately.



STATEMENT

This bill prohibits the possession of weapons within 1,000 feet of any school, college, university or other educational institution. A person who knowingly violates this prohibition is guilty of a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of not more than $7,500, imprisonment for a term of between three and five years, or both.

The provisions of the bill are patterned on New Jersey's "drug free zone" statute. Like that statute, the bill specifies that a person may

not use as a defense from prosecution the claim that he was unaware that he was within 1,000 feet of school property.

The prohibition against possessing a weapon within a 1,000 feet of school property does not apply to persons legally authorized or permitted to carry or possess weapons under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:39-6, N.J.S.2C:58-4 or any other provisions of law.

The bill specifically prohibits the merging of convictions. A person convicted of violating the provisions of this bill by possessing a weapon within 1,000 feet of school property also may be convicted, if the evidence so warrants, of possessing a prohibited weapon (N.J.S.2C:39-3); possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose (N.J.S.2C:39-4); or unlawfully possessing a weapon (N.J.S.2C:39-5).

Furthermore, the bill provides that in such cases of multiple convictions the defendant must serve the resultant sentences of imprisonment in a consecutive manner, not concurrently.

A weapon is defined in the New Jersey statutes as anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. The term includes firearms, various types of knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, cesti or other similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, and stun guns.

The prohibitions set forth in this bill are supplemental to the current statutory prohibitions against the possession of any firearm or weapon within or on school property.