TRENTON — In the wake of the Art All Night shooting spree earlier this week, efforts are being fast-tracked in the state Legislature to crack down on a certain type of gun crime.

Mayor-elect Reed Gusciora, who is also currently a Democratic assemblyman, has reintroduced a measure first proposed four years ago to eliminate any presumption of non-imprisonment for theft of a firearm.

During a news conference at the Statehouse on Thursday, Gusciora said under current state law, theft of a firearm is a third-degree crime punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and three to five years in prison. But first time offenders typically get probation.

“This bill just simply eliminates the presumption of non-incarceration for possession of a stolen weapon,” he said.

Gusciora explained “the impetus for this now is Art All Night, where it’s been reported that one of the weapons used was a stolen weapon.”

Angelo Onofri, the Mercer County prosecutor, confirmed one of the weapons used in the shooting that broke out was a gun that had been stolen during a 2014 home burglary.

“One of the most prevalent items taken during home burglaries are firearms, and those firearms then become the currency of the streets, which can be used to purchase drugs or a whole variety of illicit materials,” he said.

“Those guns fall into the wrong hands, and that’s when a lot of this shooting violence erupts.”

The co-prime sponsor of the legislation is Republican Assembly leader Jon Bramnick.

“This is an important bill because sometimes a law creates loopholes, and this was one,” he said. “You have a stolen gun, this is who we want in jail, because we know that nothing good comes from a stolen gun.”

Teska Frisby, the coordinator for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said “what this is all about is just keeping everyone safe. If we can’t keep our children safe we don’t keep our country safe.”

She added “Our children are our future, if we can’t protect them then we don’t have anything to stand on. As a mother of two young children myself, I am excited this legislation is going through.”

Gusciora said he expects the measure to be approved before the Legislature leaves for summer break in the next few weeks.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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