Dozens of criminal street gang members who allegedly used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal drug trade in Atlantic City were arrested yesterday in pre-dawn raids.  Today, the Assembly Majority Leader says the bust shows the need for passage of gun control bills already passed by the full Assembly.

“The outstanding work done by our federal, state and local law enforcement to take down this violent drug gang deserves nothing but the highest praise,” says Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald.

“However, these arrests bring another potentially deadly problem to light. Critical gaps in New Jersey’s gun laws currently allow many convicted criminals to obtain the means to terrorize our streets with gun violence and dangerous criminal activity far too easily,” Greenwald says.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says the arrests deal a significant blow to the criminal street gang known as “Dirty Block,” aka Crime Fam, 3.6.6.12, or 3.6, which allegedly operates in a geographic area of Atlantic City that includes several public housing apartment complexes.

“While many convicted felons are barred from purchasing firearms, some of these same criminals can still easily purchase firearms ammunition,” says Greenwald. “This dangerous reality is the latest evidence why New Jersey needs the Assembly package of legislation to prevent gun violence, which closes this dangerous gap in the law.”

Part of a 22-bill package to prevent gun violence in New Jersey would close this dangerous gap in state law, insists Greenwald. One bill would prohibit people convicted of the following crimes from purchasing or possessing ammunition: aggravated assault, burglary, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, hate crimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, racketeering, terrorism and other crimes.