ASSEMBLY, No. 1936



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

Establishes fourth degree crime for parent who permits a minor to gain access to a firearm which is later used in a crime.



CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.



An Act concerning firearms and supplementing chapter 58 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.



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



1. a. A parent or guardian who possesses a firearm is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if a minor under his control gains access to that firearm and uses it in the commission of a crime or an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime, unless the parent or guardian:

(1) Stores or carries the firearm in a securely locked box or container;

(2) Stores the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or

(3) Secures the firearm with a trigger lock.

b. In addition to any other disposition authorized by law, the court may require the parent or guardian who is convicted pursuant to this section to perform 80 hours of commmunity service and to participate in a course on firearm safety which shall be approved by the Superintendent of State Police.

c. As used in this act, "minor" means a person under the age of 18.



2. 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.

Under this bill, a parent or guardian who owns or possesses a firearm would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if a minor under his control gained access to that firearm and used it in the commission of a crime. The bill defines minor as a person under the age of 18.

The bill, however, affords a defense to a parent or guardian who stores or carries the firearm in a securely locked box or container, stores it in a secure location, or has secured the firearm with a trigger lock.

The bill also provides that the court may require the parent or guardian to perform 80 hours of commmunity service and participate in a course on firearm safety approved by the Superintendent of State Police.

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.