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New Jersey Moms, Mayors, Faith Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Close Loopholes to Protect New Jersey Women and Families Today in Trenton

Today: Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Hearing on AB 4218, Requires Domestic Abusers to Turn In Their Guns

Recent Polling Shows 82% of Garden State Voters Support Requiring Domestic Abusers to Turn In Their Guns

TRENTON, N.J.— Today the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, testified at the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee hearing in Trenton in support of AB 4218, and its Senate companion SB 2786, legislation requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns to law enforcement once they have become prohibited from having them. Mayor Raymond Heck of Millstone Borough, a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, also submitted written testimony and New Jersey Moms hand-delivered a letter signed by over 30 New Jersey faith leaders urging lawmakers to move quickly to close dangerous loopholes in New Jersey law and expressing their support for requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns.

“When a firearm is present in a domestic violence situation, the chances that a woman will be killed increase by more than 500 percent and numbers from the FBI show that since 1980, more than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed responding to domestic disturbances—this bill is at its heart a law enforcement bill. It gives courts, police, and sheriffs the tools to enforce the law that blocks abusers from owning guns,” said Mayor Raymond Heck of Millstone Borough. “AB 4218/SB 2786 give us a process to ensure—to actually ensure—that prohibited people don’t have illegal guns at their disposal. If there ever was no-brainer legislation, this is that bill.”

Under New Jersey state law, domestic abusers are prohibited from having guns if they become 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.

AB 4218/SB 2786 would require 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.

“On behalf of the over 70,000 members of Moms Demand Action in New Jersey, over 30 faith leaders and the 82 percent of New Jersey voters who support requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns, I urge our lawmakers to move swiftly to vote ‘Yes’ on Assembly Bill 4218 and do everything possible to keep New Jersey women and families safe,” added Brett Sabo, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “From every corner of the state, we will continue to meet with lawmakers, call, send emails, collect petition signatures, and testify in support of common-sense legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.”

Last week, Moms Demand Action released a new poll by Survey USA on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund that finds 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.

The polling also found broad support for Senate Bill 2786/Assembly Bill 4348, another gun safety measure currently making its way through Trenton’s legislative chambers that would require a point-of-sale criminal background check for every rifle or shotgun sold by a private, unlicensed seller. Right now New Jersey state law requires a criminal background check before every handgun sale but a buyer of shotguns or rifles, also known as long guns, can obtain a single permit and use it for his or her entire lifetime. This means a person could be convicted of a violent crime or be adjudicated mentally ill and could still use an old permit to purchase rifles and shotguns from unlicensed sellers, including strangers they meet online.