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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Tracking Crime Guns in New Jersey: Where Are They Coming From?

Picture of a handgun.

Connecticut’s Supreme Court has just ruled that Sandy Hook families may sue Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting. The case will look at and expose Remington Arms’ marketing practices. Just where do the majority of guns used in crimes come from? It’s tough to buy a gun in New Jersey, as the gun laws here make it one of the hardest states in which to buy a weapon.

So where do most of the guns come from?

According to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), seventy-five percent of traceable guns recovered by authorities in New Jersey are purchased in states with weaker gun laws like Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida. According to the ATF’s analysis, Pennsylvania has been the number one source of out-of-state guns recovered in New Jersey each year for the past decade. In a recent one year period, the ATF identified the top 15 source states for 2,477 firearms with a NJ recovery. The highest single state source was PA with 412 traces, and another forty percent of the total guns recovered came from states with laxer gun laws along the Interstate 95 corridor south of NJ – a popular route for gun trafficking that has come to be known as the Iron Pipeline.

What about states with stricter gun laws?

Of all the firearms recovered in NJ during the ATF’s recent analysis, about 21 percent were first purchased in the Garden State – which is well below the national average of 71 percent of recovered guns originating in-state. As a matter of fact, NJ has the lowest in-state recovery rate in the country. New York has the second lowest with 30 percent. Which explains why only 3 percent of NJ crime guns came from NY.

Do stronger gun laws make a difference?

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence publishes an annual gun law scorecard that clearly shows that states with stronger gun laws have lower gun death rates, year after year. New Jersey scores an A with the second best gun law strength in the country, and ranks fifth lowest for gun deaths. But are one state’s gun laws only as good as those in the states around them? Gun laws do work. Stats show gun deaths rise as gun laws weaken. States with strong gun laws though are unfortunately compromised when adjacent states don’t have similar laws.

What is being done to control this issue?

In an effort to tighten standards, Gov. Phil Murphy decided to “name and shame” other states by releasing data on where guns used in NJ crimes originate. To elicit change in states with less strict gun laws, NJ releases periodic reports on gun crimes in the state, including information on where the crime occurred, the number of victims, the offenses charged, the type of guns used and where they were purchased. Murphy has also been building a regional gun coalition designed to limit the flow of illegal firearms across state lines, cut down on gun crimes and study gun violence. Last year NJ closed a long gun loophole in its background check law, strengthening its ban on high-capacity magazines, prohibiting bump stocks, and enacting an extreme risk protection order law. The Garden State also allocated $2 million to gun violence prevention research.

In Conclusion

New Jersey’s strong gun laws make it hard for criminals to purchase guns in the state, forcing the majority of recovered guns used in crimes to originate in other neighboring states with softer gun laws. Much is being done by NJ lawmakers to tighten gun laws in order to reduce crime and gun deaths, and it is working. Thanks to its robust gun laws, NJ is a model for how strong gun laws work to keep people safe as it has one of the nation’s lowest gun death rates.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, speak with a skilled, experienced lawyer who is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. John W. Tumelty has 30 years of experience in criminal law and knows exactly how to best position his clients. He will meet with you, for free, to discuss your specific case and put his experience to work for you. Time is of the essence; don’t wait. Contact him today to learn more about your option for avoiding jail time or for getting your charges reduced. Tumelty has offices in Marmora, Somers Point, and Atlantic City NJ and represents clients from all over Atlantic and Cape May counties and beyond.

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This article, and other articles, on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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