More than 8 in 10 Garden State Voters Support Requiring Domestic Abusers to Turn in Their Guns
In Final Days Before Summer Recess, Moms, Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence Urge Legislators to Close Existing Loopholes To Protect New Jersey Women and Families
TRENTON, N.J.—The New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America 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 comes as the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee is poised to hold a hearing on Assembly Bill 4218 this coming week in Trenton, legislation that would require dangerous abusers to turn in their guns. The polling also indicated that three out of five likely New Jersey voters would be more inclined to vote for elected officials who backed such policies.
“With just a few weeks left until our lawmakers leave Trenton for the summer recess, it’s imperative they listen to the strong majority of New Jersey voters that support requiring people convicted of domestic violence and people with a domestic violence protective order against them to turn in any guns they own to law enforcement,” said Jaime Bedrin, volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Research shows that the mere presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation increases the likelihood of homicide by 500 percent. AB 4218 puts in place a common-sense mechanism to remove firearms from domestic violence situations – it’s vital our lawmakers move quickly to pass this life-saving measure.”
“The New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women strongly supports measures to strengthen and improve gun laws in cases of domestic violence. In recent years about one third of domestic violence homicides in New Jersey were committed with a gun. This bill legislates and clarifies the procedures in New Jersey, better insuring that no one disqualified from gun ownership due to domestic violence continues to have a gun in their possession,” added Jane Shivas, Executive Director of New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women.
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 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.
The polling also found broad support for another gun safety measure currently making its way through Trenton’s legislative chambers, Senate Bill 2786/Assembly Bill 4348, a bill 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 does require a criminal background check before every handgun sale, but buyers of shotguns and rifles, also known as long guns, can use the same permit for their entire lifetime—meaning 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.
Among the poll’s findings: