Proposed NJ law aims to keep accused gun offenders off the streets
New Jersey needs to adjust its bail reform rules to keep more dangerous individuals off the streets, according to select lawmakers, local leaders and organizations.
The way the rules work now, they say, many people accused of firearms offenses are released pretrial.
Advocates are pushing for passage of a newly proposed law that would make pretrial detention the default process for people who commit crimes while in possession of a firearm, and those who are charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm.
Currently, as a result of bail reform measures enacted in 2017, it's presumed that individuals charged with murder or other violent offenses will be kept behind bars until their trial begins. The new bill aims to add accused gun offenders to that pool.
Garden State Initiative, a nonprofit research and educational organization, said the proposal will enable further scrutiny of these defendants, regarding their danger to the community and to themselves.
"We can't have economic prosperity without a safe community," GSI President Regina Egea told New Jersey 101.5.
GSI joined New Jersey mayors, lawmakers and the state sheriffs' association on Tuesday to announce their support for the proposal. The Assembly measure was introduced on Monday; the Senate version was introduced in January.
“Republicans, Democrats, and law enforcement came together to support legislation that would keep bad guys with guns off the streets,” said Sen. Jon Bramnick, R-Union. “The bill would keep our streets safe by preventing dangerous criminals from getting out on bail.”
The proposed law notes that accused gun offenders' presumed pretrial detention may be rebutted in court.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org