Trenton mayor-elect to reintroduce bill on gun crimes

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TRENTON -

Trenton's Mayor-elect Reed Gusciora says that he plans to reintroduce a bill that eliminates a non-imprisonment rule for first-time stolen weapons offenders.

Gusciora says that he decided to reintroduce the bill after it was reported that at least one of the alleged shooters at the Arts All Night Trenton shooting was using a stolen gun.

The bill would force jail time to those who are convicted of the theft of a firearm, even if it is the person’s first offense.

"This is one that truly goes across the spectrum of support. Whether you're the NRA that doesn't want a stolen firearm or whether you're in the Million Moms March, that believes that there should be stricter gun laws, this is the bill that meets those in the middle,” the mayor-elect says.

The bill was previously introduced back in 2014. It received bipartisan support at the time.

Authorities say that over 20 people were injured when rival gangs got into a shootout at the 24-hour arts event last week. Police officers shot and killed one of the suspects. Two other suspects were also injured and hospitalized.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office says that prior to the shooting a Hamilton Township teacher posted a warning on her Facebook page about possible violence at the festival. A retired Hamilton Township police officer saw the post and alerted the Trenton Police Department.

Art All Night executive director Laure Otis said in a statement, "Over two hours before the shooting, Art All Night fully and without hesitation, complied with Trenton police's request to shut down all outdoors activities, and ultimately close down the event completely."

Otis says that prior to the shooting, there were 40 police officers and a 14-man private security detail on hand to break up the crowd as the event was closing down.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman referenced the shooting at the festival Thursday while addressing the House floor about stricter gun legislation.

"Earlier this week, I wrote a letter to you Mr. Speaker, asking for consideration for any one of these 70-plus bills in honor of the victims of Sunday's shooting. I have yet to receive a response to my request. And, with the paralyzing fear that seems to grip my Republican colleagues whenever we mention guns, I don't have high hopes that I will get one. But I do know, the longer we continue to ignore this problem, the more people will be hurt and more lives will be lost,” she said.

Four Trenton police officers were placed on leave following the shooting, which is standard during a police-involved shooting investigation.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is the lead investigator on the case.

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