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Greenwald: National Report Details Need for Assembly Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Monday on preventing gun violence after a national Gannett story detailed serious weaknesses in New Jersey’s mental health background checks for firearms purchases:

“A major national news report has revealed that the same gap in mental health background checks that allowed the mentally ill Virginia Tech shooter to purchase weapons to murder 32 people exists in New Jersey’s laws today. This critical and dangerous gap in New Jersey’s gun laws could be exploited by unstable individuals looking to perpetrate gun violence in our communities.
“The bottom line is simple: people with potentially dangerous mental illness should not be able to buy firearms. We must strengthen our mental health background check system in order to prevent future tragedies in New Jersey.
“This report shows the desperate need for the package of legislation to prevent gun violence recently passed by the Assembly. Our legislative package closes this gap in the law, requiring certain mental health records to be submitted to the federal background check system.
“The time to get serious about preventing gun violence is long overdue. That is why New Jersey needs our package of legislation to become law without delay.”

Under New Jersey law, mental health court records are not required to be submitted to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system, a loophole that can permit potentially dangerous individuals to purchase firearms despite a disqualifying mental health condition.
Legislation (A-3717) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pam Lampitt (D-Burlington/Camden), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) that was approved as part of the Assembly’s 22-bill gun violence prevention package would close this dangerous gap in New Jersey’s gun laws.
An analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns ranks New Jersey among the worst-performing states in submitting mental health records to NICS.