ASSEMBLY, No. 1935



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

208th LEGISLATURE



INTRODUCED APRIL 16, 1998





Sponsored by:

Assemblyman RAUL "RUDY" GARCIA

District 33 (Hudson)

Assemblyman CHARLES "KEN" ZISA

District 37 (Bergen)









SYNOPSIS

Makes changes to various laws concerning juveniles and firearms.



CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.



An Act concerning the use of firearms, amending P.L.1982, c.79 and P.L.1991, c.397 and supplementing chapter 4A of Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.



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



1. Section 1 of P.L. 1982, c.79 (C. 2A:4A-60) is amended to read as follows:

1. Disclosure of juvenile information; penalties for disclosure.

a. Social, medical, psychological, legal and other records of the court and probation division, and records of law enforcement agencies, pertaining to juveniles charged as a delinquent or found to be part of a juvenile-family crisis, shall be strictly safeguarded from public inspection. Such records shall be made available only to:

(1) Any court or probation division;

(2) The Attorney General or county prosecutor;

(3) The parents or guardian and to the attorney of the juvenile;

(4) The Department of Human Services, if providing care or custody of the juvenile;

(5) Any institution or facility to which the juvenile is currently committed or in which the juvenile is placed;

(6) Any person or agency interested in a case or in the work of the agency keeping the records, by order of the court for good cause shown, except that information concerning adjudications of delinquency, records of custodial confinement, payments owed on assessments imposed pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:43-3.1) or restitution ordered following conviction of a crime or adjudication of delinquency, and the juvenile's financial resources, shall be made available upon request to the Victims of Crime Compensation Board established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-3), which shall keep such information and records confidential; and

(7) The Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.284 (C.52:17B-170).

b. Records of law enforcement agencies may be disclosed for law enforcement purposes to any law enforcement agency of this State, another state or the United States, and the identity of a juvenile under warrant for arrest for commission of an act that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult may be disclosed to the public when necessary to execution of the warrant. If the juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for the commission of an offense that involved the use of

a firearm as defined in N.J.S.2C:39-1, a law enforcement agency may release to the public the name and address of the juvenile.

c. At the time of charge, adjudication or disposition, information as to the identity of a juvenile charged with an offense, the offense charged, the adjudication and disposition shall, upon request, be disclosed to:

(1) The victim or a member of the victim's immediate family;

(2) Any law enforcement agency which investigated the offense, the person or agency which filed the complaint, and any law enforcement agency in the municipality where the juvenile resides; and

(3) On a confidential basis, the principal of the school where the juvenile is enrolled for use by the principal and such members of the staff and faculty of the school as the principal deems appropriate for maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school or to planning programs relevant to the juvenile's educational and social development, provided that no record of such information shall be maintained except as authorized by regulation of the Department of Education; or

(4) A party in a subsequent legal proceeding involving the juvenile, upon approval by the court.

d. A law enforcement or prosecuting agency shall, at the time of a charge, adjudication or disposition, advise the principal of the school where the juvenile is enrolled of the identity of the juvenile charged, the offense charged, the adjudication and the disposition if:

(1) The offense occurred on school property or a school bus, occurred at a school-sponsored function or was committed against an employee or official of the school; or

(2) The juvenile was taken into custody as a result of information or evidence provided by school officials; or

(3) The offense, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime, and the offense:

(a) resulted in death or serious bodily injury or involved an attempt or conspiracy to cause death or serious bodily injury; or

(b) involved the unlawful use or possession of a firearm or other weapon; or

(c) involved the unlawful manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog; or

(d) was committed by a juvenile who acted with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity; or

(e) would be a crime of the first or second degree.

Information provided to the principal pursuant to this subsection shall be treated as confidential but may be made available to such members of the staff and faculty of the school as the principal deems appropriate for maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school or for planning programs relevant to a juvenile's educational and social development, and no record of such information shall be maintained except as authorized by regulation of the Department of Education.

e. Nothing in this section prohibits a law enforcement or prosecuting agency from providing the principal of a school with information identifying one or more juveniles who are under investigation or have been taken into custody for commission of any act that would constitute an offense if committed by an adult when the law enforcement or prosecuting agency determines that the information may be useful to the principal in maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school or in planning programs relevant to the juvenile's educational and social development. Information provided to the principal pursuant to this subsection shall be treated as confidential but may be made available to such members of the staff and faculty of the school as the principal deems appropriate for maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school or for planning programs relevant to the juvenile's educational and social development. No information provided pursuant to this section shall be maintained.

f. Information as to the identity of a juvenile adjudicated delinquent, the offense, the adjudication and the disposition shall be disclosed to the public where the offense for which the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime of the first, second or third degree, or aggravated assault, destruction or damage to property to an extent of more than $500.00, unless upon application at the time of disposition the juvenile demonstrates a substantial likelihood that specific and extraordinary harm would result from such disclosure in the specific case. Where the court finds that disclosure would be harmful to the juvenile, the reasons therefor shall be stated on the record.

g. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the establishment and maintaining of a central registry of the records of law enforcement agencies relating to juveniles for the purpose of exchange between State or local law enforcement agencies of this State, another state, or the United States.

h. Whoever, except as provided by law, knowingly discloses, publishes, receives, or makes use of or knowingly permits the unauthorized use of information concerning a particular juvenile derived from records listed in subsection a. or acquired in the course of court proceedings, probation, or police duties, shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

i. The court may, upon application by the juvenile or his parent or guardian, the prosecutor or any other interested party, including the victim or complainant or members of the news media, permit public attendance during any court proceeding at a delinquency case, where it determines that a substantial likelihood that specific harm to the juvenile would not result, and the court shall permit a victim, or a family member of a victim to make a statement prior to ordering a disposition in any delinquency proceeding involving an offense that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult. The court shall have the authority to limit and control the attendance in any manner and to the extent it deems appropriate.

j. The Department of Education, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations concerning the creation, maintenance and disclosure of pupil records including information acquired pursuant to this section.

(cf: P.L.1995, c.280, s.15)



2. Section 2 of P.L.1991, c.397 (C.2C:58-16) is amended to read as follows:

2. a. Upon the retail sale or transfer of any firearm, the retail dealer or his employee shall deliver to the purchaser or transferee the following written warning, printed in block letters not less than one-fourth of an inch in height: "IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, PUNISHABLE BY A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT, FOR AN ADULT TO PERMIT A MINOR TO UNLAWFULLY POSSESS A FIREARM OR TO LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN EASY ACCESS OF A MINOR."

b. Every wholesale and retail dealer of firearms shall conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning, printed in block letters not less than one inch in height: "IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO PERMIT A MINOR TO UNLAWFULLY POSSESS A FIREARM OR TO LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN EASY ACCESS OF A MINOR."

c. Violation of this section by any retail or wholesale dealer of firearms is a petty disorderly persons offense.

(cf: P.L.1991, c.397, s.2)



3. (New section) In accordance with and in addition to any disposition authorized by the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43) or any other statute indicating the dispositions that can be ordered for an adjudication of deliquency, whenever a juvenile is adjudicated deliquent for a second or subsequent offense that involved the use of a firearm as defined in N.J.S.2C:39-1, the court shall require the juvenile to perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service and suspend or postpone for 90 days the juvenile's license to operate a motor vehicle. In the case of any person who at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of the suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period of 90 days beginning on the day the person reaches the age of 17 years. If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violation of any offense defined in this section, the revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension, or postponement.

The court before whom any person is convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver's license or licenses of the person and forward such license or licenses to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles along with a report indicating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. If the court is for any reason unable to collect the license or licenses of the person, the court shall cause a report of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency to be filed with the director. That report shall include the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person and shall indicate the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement imposed pursuant to this section, the person shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S.39:3-40. A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S.39:3-40. If the person is the holder of a driver's license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not collect the license but shall notify the director who shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction. The court shall, however, in accordance with the provisions of this section, revoke the person's non-resident driving privilege in this State.



4. This act shall take effect immediately.





STATEMENT



This bill is part of a package of bills designed to reduce gun violence among children and teenagers.

First, the bill would permit a law enforcement agency to release the name and address of a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent for any offense that involved the use of a firearm. Presently, law enforcement agencies may disclose this information only to other law enforcement agencies in this State.

Second, the bill would require firearms dealers to deliver to any firearm purchaser or transferee a written warning stating that it is a criminal offense to permit a minor to unlawfully possess a firearm. Under current law, the written warning only must state that it is a criminal offense to leave a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor. The bill also requires dealers to post a sign with a similar warning in one-inch block letters.

Third, the bill provides that whenever a juvenile is adjudicated deliquent for a second or subsequent offense that involved the use of a firearm, the juvenile must perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service. The juvenile's driver's license also would be suspended or postponed for 90 days. If the juvenile is less than 17 years of age, the period of the suspension would begin to run on the day the sentence is imposed and continue for 90 days beginning on the juvenile's seventeenth birthday. These sanctions currently are available to the sentencing judge under Section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43); this bill would require their imposition for second and subsequent offenses involving a firearm.

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) states that gun violence is one of the most serious problems facing the nation's youth. According to the CDF, gun violence claims the life of a child every two hours and the equivalent of a full classroom of children every two days. CDF statistics also show that homicide has become the third leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14 and the second leading cause of death for children and youth ages 10 to 24. In the years 1979 through 1991, almost 50,000 children were killed by guns, surpassing the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam war.