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Watson Coleman & Gusciora Call on Gov. Christie to Sign Gun Bills to Help Tackle Rampant Gun Violence in Capital City

More than a dozen people have been killed in gun-related crimes in the capital city during the first six months of the year

(TRENTON) – Noting the escalating gun violence in the capital city, Assembly Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman and Reed Gusciora (both D-Mercer/Hunterdon) today called on Gov. Christie to take action on pending gun violence prevention legislation to help alleviate the rampant gun violence in Trenton which has been exasperated by a lack of resources and a decimated police force.

“The impunity with which these criminals operate is astounding. They are exchanging gun fire in broad daylight with no regard for the law, their neighbors or themselves,” said Watson Coleman, who spoke along with gun violence prevention advocates during a news conference at the State House on Wednesday. “Sadly, the city police department doesn’t have the manpower to properly counter these attacks. The lack of leadership at City Hall has not helped, but it also does not absolve the state from providing the city with resources to help combat this problem. We have a responsibility to our state capital and to these residents who for all intents and purposes are in this fight alone. I’m certain Gov. Christie is aware of what’s happening, so why not sign legislation that could help? The residents of Trenton and other communities plagued by gun violence deserve better than the governor’s silence.”

“During the first six months of the year, 120 people were shot and 15 of them were killed. How many more people must die, and for how much longer must neighborhoods be terrorized before the governor decides to help?” asked Gusciora. “We realize these bills will not end all gun violence, but doing nothing is not an option. How we keep and maintain our homes is a reflection of who we are. The fact that this is happening in our own backyard, and the governor is stalling on legislation that could help control this pervasive problem speaks volumes. Trenton needs help. I implore Gov. Christie to get serious about the terrible impact that gun violence is having on our cities and sign these bills.”

The capital city lost more than 100 officers in a mass layoff in September 2011. According to a media report, the city has received federal grants that has allowed it to rehire officers, but the department continues to suffer from the loss in manpower, as retirements deplete the force nearly as quickly as officers are hired back.

Watson Coleman and Gusciora are urging the governor to take action on the following bills:

  • (A-3797) Requires law enforcement to report certain firearms information to interjurisdictional electronic databases, including the NIBIN; requires State Police to report certain firearms trace data for use in Uniform Crime Report.
  • (S-2468) Clarifies that motor vehicles used in firearms trafficking are subject to seizure and forfeiture.
  • (S-2719) Upgrades penalty on licensed dealers for knowingly selling to one who intends to transfer to an ineligible person (straw purchase).
  • (S-2723) Will require a current background check be conducted by a federally licensed dealer for (nearly) all private sales; will require FID (for long-gun ammo) and PPH (for handgun ammo) for all ammo purchases; all online ammo purchase info shall be reported electronically in real-time.