Members Discuss Methods, Urgency of Enhancing Gun Violence Prevention in the State in Advance of Wednesday Committees Focused Exclusively on Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
(TRENTON) — Assembly Democratic members issued a multimedia package on Monday in which they discuss the need for and their desire to address gun violence prevention in New Jersey in advance of a special Wednesday Assembly committee day devoted exclusively to examining the issue.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex), Assembly Majority Conference Leader Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen), Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Chair Charles Mainor (D-Hudson), Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee members Joseph Cryan (D-Union) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer), and Assembly members Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson) and Connie Wagner (D-Bergen) all added their voices to the growing call for swift, sensible gun violence prevention in the state.
The call to action comes after a rash of devastating shootings across the country – including one this morning at the New Castle County, Delaware courthouse that left two people plus the gunman dead and two others wounded – placed the discussion of gun violence prevention front and center on the national stage and prefaces Assembly action on Wednesday on numerous pieces of gun violence prevention legislation.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the Assembly members’ comments and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the members is appended below:
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex):
“I believe that the level of gun violence has gotten out of control in our state; it affects every community.
“While people understand and embrace the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, I think we have gotten to a place in society where we have to examine the safety of everyone else.
“So, for that reason, we must legislatively reexamine where we are in New Jersey.”
Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson), Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Chair:
“What we need to do would be to focus a lot of attention on illegal guns that’s being brought in.”
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Member:
“The New Jersey Turnpike, part of the I-95 corridor, is considered gun alley as a result of the amount of weapons that go up back and forth from North Carolina and Virginia.”
Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson):
“We need to start looking at things and the root causes of gun violence. Mental illness is one of them.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer), Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Member:
“Mental health is a really, really, really important issue here because, in some respects, we might have been able to prevent incidences, had we known that those particular types of individuals had access to guns.”
“I am currently working on several bills, some to limit the online sale of ammunition in the State of New Jersey.
“The fact of the matter is, when we remember Aurora, Colorado, the gunman there stockpiled 6,000 rounds of ammunition that he purchased on the Internet. It’s absolutely unacceptable, and we need to stop that here in New Jersey.”
Assembly Majority Conference Leader Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“Legislation that I have put in requires if you purchase a firearm, it requires that you are trained in firearms.
“It comes from my police training, my police days, where we put a police officer in the street, he or she has two or three weeks of firearms training. So, why can’t we direct, through a certification process, so we all know this individual has had proper training in the firearms that they have.”
“This is a reflective part of a process that I think the nation wants to take a deep breath on and take a good look at.”
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen):
“And I am having people that are willing to have this discussion. They’re saying, you know what, as long as it’s sensible, as long as I’m allowed to hunt, as long as I’m allowed to have a gun in my home to protect myself if they so feel, then they are for this.”
“I come from a family of hunters. My uncles and grandfather and cousins were all part of a hunting club, and they hunted deer and rabbit, and I don’t think anybody thinks that those individuals ought not to be able to engage in those sport activities that involve using guns.
“I think that there’s different kinds of guns that we’re talking about, that don’t shoot anything but people, and those are the guns, in particular, that I want to see out of the hands of anybody but the military and the law enforcement.”
“We’re not looking to punish or penalize responsible gun ownership in this state, or sportsmen. That is not the Legislature’s intent.
“The Legislature’s intent is to do common sense kinds of interventions.
“We are not looking to strip people of their rights. We are looking to ensure the safety of all communities.”