Princeton Gunman Killed After Standoff With Police

Princeton Weapon Offense Defense Lawyer

On Tuesday, March 20th, at around 10 a.m., an armed man entered a Panera Bread shop in Princeton. The store was located on Nassau Street, just across the street from Princeton University. Soon after he entered the Panera, police began negotiations with him. They remained outside of the store throughout the day, trying to talk the gunman down and get him to surrender.

Gun and Bullet

Fortunately, the Panera employees and customers in the store fled through the back entrance early in the standoff. After five hours of unsuccessful attempts to get the gunman to come out peacefully, the police entered the Panera and fatally shot the gunman.

It is unclear at this point what the gunman’s motives were. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

This case is just another incident of someone with a gun terrorizing a store, and a community. Despite the fact that New Jersey has one of the strictest gun laws in the country, there is no telling where the next home-grown terrorist with a gun will strike next. Let’s take a look at weapons possession offenses in New Jersey.

New Jersey Weapons Possession Laws

It is widely reported that New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. People who wish to obtain a permit to carry their gun in public must demonstrate a “justifiable need” for that privilege. It is a very high bar indeed, and one cannot really fathom any private citizen having a “need” to carry a firearm, unless they are in constant fear of lethal attack.

With regard to the offense of illegal weapons possession, there are there are four types of illegal weapons possession charges under New Jersey law: (1) Possession of a weapon without obtaining a license; (2) Prior conduct that makes it illegal to possess a weapon; (3) Possession of a weapon with the illegal purpose of committing a crime; and (4) Possession of a weapon that is banned in the State.

1. Possession of a Weapon Without a License. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 makes it a crime to have weapons in your possession without a proper license or permit. It is a third-degree crime to possess a machine gun, handgun, rifle, shotgun, or assault firearm without a permit. A third-degree crime carries a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison.

Possession of a weapon other than those listed above is a fourth-degree crime, carrying a penalty of up to 18 months in prison. Note: Even if you do have a permit for a gun, it is still illegal to carry it in a school zone.

2. Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons . N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7 makes it illegal to possess a weapon if you have (i) been committed to a mental institution, or (ii) been convicted of any crime greater than a disorderly persons offense in the past. In addition, it is a second-degree crime, carrying a potential 10 years in prison, if a person possesses a weapon after being convicted of the following offenses:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Escape
  • Extortion
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Bias intimidation
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Domestic violence offenses

3. Possession of a Weapon for an Illegal Purpose. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4 makes it a second-degree crime, with a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison, to possess firearms, explosives, or destructive devices with the purpose of using them unlawfully against a person or property.

Possession of any weapon other than the three mentioned above for an unlawful purpose is a third-degree crime, carrying a possible 5 years in prison. Possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose is a fourth-degree crime, which carries up to 18 months in prison.

4. Weapons Banned in New Jersey . N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3 lists the weapons that cannot be possessed by anyone in the State. To be guilty of an offense, a person must knowingly possess the prohibited weapon or device. It is a third-degree crime to knowingly possess a sawed-off shotgun or destructive device, and it is a fourth-degree crime to possess any of the following weapons:

  • Silencers
  • Defaced firearms (unless they are antique)
  • Gravity knife
  • Switchblade knife
  • Dagger
  • Dirk
  • Stiletto
  • Billy
  • Blackjack
  • Metal knuckle
  • Sandclub
  • Slingshot
  • Cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood
  • Ballistic knife
  • Dum-dum or body armor penetrating bullets
  • Stun guns

Illegal Handgun Attorneys in Princeton New Jersey

Because New Jersey has such strict gun laws, the illegal possession of a weapon in New Jersey carries significant penalties. If you have been charged with illegal weapons possession, the most important decision you can make is in getting the right lawyer to represent you. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of attorneys with extensive experience defending handgun, firearm and other weapons possession at the Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton. Having handled hundreds of weapon cases over the last several decades, the attorneys at our firm have the know-how to successfully defend a charge arising in Princeton, Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence Township or anywhere else in the county. With a number of former prosecutors on staff, we understand how prosecutors approach a weapons case, and we can zealously defend you against those strategies. Let us help you win your case in court. Call us today at (609) 683-8102 to speak to an attorney immediately.

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