The “knockout game” has been in the headlines quite a bit this year, but now lawmakers in New Jersey are trying to put an end to this trend by passing three bills that would make the consequences of participating in the “game” much worse.
The first of the three bills, A4549, is co-sponsored by Republicans Jon Bramnick and Ron Dancer and seeks to make the “knockout game” a third-degree crime and put a mandatory prison sentence into place for anyone convicted. The minimum sentence, according to PotlickerNJ, would be, “one-third to one-half of the three- to five-year sentence imposed, during which time the person would not be eligible for parole.”
“‘Knockout’ is not a game,” said Bramnick. “It is a violent and dangerous act. As legislators, we must ensure that our laws address the newest inceptions of violence with the harshest possible penalties.”
The second bill, A4558, is backed by Democrat Craig Coughlin and Republicans John DiMaio and Anthony Bucco, and like the previous bill, will make a “knockout game” attack a third-degree crime. The difference between the two, however, is that A558 seeks to give the court the ability to try anyone age 14 and over the same as an adult would be tried for the crime.
A4563, the third in the trio of bills, is sponsored by Democrats Gordon Johnson and Joe Cryan and is looking to make a “knockout game” attack a second-degree aggravated assault charge, which has specific consequences associated with it.
Many still don’t believe that the “knockout game” is an epidemic or trend in the country, but these bills in New Jersey prove that lawmakers are taking it very seriously regardless of the label.