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Everytown, New Jersey Moms, Mayors, Domestic Violence Prevention Advocates Call on Lawmakers to Support Life-Saving Domestic Violence Gun Legislation in Trenton

Today: Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Hearing on S2786, Requires Domestic Abusers to Turn In Their Guns

Hopewell Mayor Anzano Delivers Letter on Behalf of New Jersey Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns including Mayors in Newark, Jersey City and 86 Other Cities Urging New Jersey Lawmakers to Close Dangerous Loopholes to Protect Women and Families

TRENTON, N.J. –Today Everytown for Gun Safety including members of the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Hopewell Mayor Paul Anzano, a member of the New Jersey coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, joined Karolina Szatkowski, Director of the PALS (Peace: A Learned Solution) program at the YWCA Union County to testify in support of legislation that requires domestic abusers to turn in their guns to law enforcement once they become prohibited from having them. Mayor Anzano delivered a letter addressed to New Jersey’s legislative leadership on behalf of more than 80 members of the New Jersey coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns urging lawmakers to move quickly to pass S2786, sponsored by Senator Weinberg, and companion bill AB 4218, in order to better protect domestic violence victims. Moms, mayors, and many other advocates were in Trenton today as part of an advocacy day asking lawmakers to support S2786/AB 4218, legislation that would protect New Jersey women and families.

“As a program director at the YWCA here in New Jersey in Union County, it is far too often that we see women in domestic violence situations working so hard to get free only to be shot and killed by their abuser,” said Karolina Szatkowski, Director of the PALS (Peace: A Learned Solution) program at the YWCA Union County. “Women are more likely to be killed by their intimate partners than by any other assailant. In the United States, it is an abuser’s access to guns that makes this possible. Through passing bills like S2786, you have the power to start to change that.”

Under New Jersey state law, domestic abusers are prohibited from having guns if they are subject to a final restraining order or are convicted of a domestic violence offense or crime. But the law does not require these abusers turn in the guns they already own, meaning that a prohibited abuser can go directly home from court and use the guns he has at home to harm an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend.

S2786/AB4218 would help close this dangerous loophole in New Jersey law by requiring that every time a person is convicted of domestic violence or becomes subject to a final domestic violence restraining order, he must turn in any guns he owns.

“I was stunned to learn that New Jersey law does not require that abusers turn in firearms they already own. This means that a prohibited abuser can go directly home from court and use the guns he has at home to harm an ex-wife, ex-girlfriend or partner,” said Meghan Adamoli, volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Not only is every single person affected by the bill already prohibited for having these firearms under NJ law, but they have all had their day in court. Moms Demand Action and I firmly stand with the 82 percent of New Jersey voters who support requiring domestic abusers to surrender their guns after they become prohibited from having them and we urge our lawmakers to vote Yes on Senate Bill 2786—to keep New Jersey women and families safe.”

Last month, Moms Demand Action released a poll by Survey USA on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund that found 82 percent of New Jersey voters support requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns to law enforcement after they become prohibited from having them. This overwhelming support includes 78 percent of gun owners and is consistent throughout the state.