The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee released bill S1279, which would upgrade the penalty for unlawfully selling, giving or transferring a firearm to an underage person from a 3rd degree crime to a 2nd degree crime.
Currently, a person who unlawfully sells, gives or transfers a firearm to an underage person is guilty of a 3rd degree crime with a mandatory minimum 3-year prison term, a $15,000 fine or both.
Under bill S1279, a person who unlawfully sells, gives or transfers a firearm to an underage person would be guilty of a 2nd degree crime with a mandatory minimum five-year prison term and a maximum $150,000 fine.
Sen. Shirley Turner, (D-15), of Ewing, the sponsor of the bill, said the Newtown, Conn., school massacre was a wake-up call to focus on gun violence.
“We ‘ve been experiencing a culture of violence in our urban centers,” she said.
She believes the bill will make a great difference. Much of the violence in urban areas stems from guns, gangs and drugs, she said, describing the combination as “a toxic mix.”
“We can no longer turn our heads and let the bad guys, bad actors, control our streets,” she said.
“We want to put these bad actors away,” she said. “It’s time for us now to send a clear message, if you ignore gun laws, you do it at your own peril.”
The bill was amended to allow those under age 21 to use the guns for training and instruction for lawful purposes.