Atlantic City Teens Charged with Possessing Firearms on School Grounds
After a report of shots fired at the Uptown School Complex in Atlantic City earlier this month, a 16-year-old and 19-year-old were arrested in connection with the incident. On February 3, 2017, AC police officers responded to a report of shots fired and reportedly found “evidence of shots being fired.” At the time, school was not in session.
On February 17, 2017, the Atlantic City Police Department Violent Crimes Unit concluded its investigation into the school shooting and arrested two suspects.
The 16-year-old suspect was sent to Harborfield’s Detention Facility and the 19-year-old was sent to the Atlantic County Justice Facility. Both teenagers were charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon on the grounds of an educational institution, and conspiracy.
While unlawfully possessing a firearm or weapon is a crime in itself, it is a separate crime to possess a firearm or other weapon on school property. Specifically, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(e)(1), the New Jersey Criminal Code sets forth that any person who knowingly has in their possession any firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university, or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Moreover, it is a crime irrespective of whether the person possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card. Regarding other weapons on school property, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(e)(2), any person who knowingly possesses any weapon or components which can be readily assembled into a firearm or other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful use as it may have, while in or upon any part of an educational institution, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
As with all weapons offenses in New Jersey, possessing firearms or other weapons in educational institutions is taken very seriously by the criminal justice system. In fact, a third degree offense for possessing a firearm on school property will carry a prison sentence of 3-5 years, as well as fines of up to $15,000. A fourth degree offense for possessing any other type of weapon at a school will subject the defendant to up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Possession of Guns in Schools Atlantic County – Need Lawyer
If you have been accused of a weapons offenses and you are scheduled to appear in the New Jersey Superior Court, Criminal Division, you should contact an experienced firearms defense attorney. The criminal defense team at the Tormey Law Firm has handled countless weapons cases throughout New Jersey and is well-versed in cases involving the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and other weapons offenses. We are available to help you defend your case today.