(PATERSON) – Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson) released on Friday the following statement regarding the national debate taking place on gun control:
“I strongly support the actions laid out by the President earlier this week on gun control. These are necessary actions we need to take to get a handle on the out of control gun violence happening in this country.
“The initiatives, unfortunately, will not have a direct impact on the current situation facing urban communities.
“Last year, the city of Paterson saw 71 shootings, 19 of which resulted in the loss of life. These include the young lives of Genesis Rincon, Nazerah Bugg and Armoni Sexton. It’s heartbreaking, the number of lives lost to gun violence last year.
“Gun violence does not discriminate against age, ethnicity, economic background or political party. From the tragic deaths of the children of Sandy Hook to the mass shooting at the AME church in South Carolina, gun violence has touch many lives across economic and racial divides. Legislators on both sides of the aisle should be concerned about gun control and making communities safer for all citizens.
“Stronger mental health laws, a no nonsense enforcement of current gun statutes, clarifying the definition of dealer, more gun buyback programs, and providing local law enforcement the tools they need to seize illegal firearms will help end gun violence in the streets.
“We must do more to protect the rights of responsible owners and communities from individuals who break the law and place the public at risk.”
Wimberly said he is currently working on key legislation that will begin to address mental health concerns and interstate sales as it relates to gun purchases. One bill aims to require the state to keep annual records of mental health forms by mandating renewal of the form every year. Another bill will look into setting standards for gun purchases made in other states and brought back to New Jersey.
Wimberly will be sworn in for his third term in the Assembly next Tuesday.