Authorities in New Jersey are aggressively targeting gun violence in urban areas.
In a new initiative, the State Police Intelligence Section has more than doubled the number of detectives assigned specifically to gun trafficking.
Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says that’s helped lead to the seizure of more than a hundred guns since January. That’s almost as many guns as were seized in all of last year.
“By making weapons the focus of our investigations and prosecuting offenders under New Jersey’s tough gun laws, we’re taking numerous weapons and violent criminals off the street,” Chiesa said Thursday. “Each gun that we seize potentially represents one life or multiple lives saved.”
Nearly two dozen of the weapons were “community guns,” firearms hidden where gang members and criminals could easily fid them.
“A community gun is particularly dangerous because it is a gun hidden in a location known to a group of people, any one of whom can grab and use that gun to kill someone,” Chiesa said. “They’re hidden under junk cars, in abandoned buildings, under rubble in vacant lots and in parks, places where children play and can find them.”
Chiesa says the indictment of 29 defendants on charges of illegal gun possession is the first wave of prosecution under the initiative to disrupt the gangs he said rely on guns to fuel their drug trade.