Can Any Legislation Stop Gun Violence in NJ? [AUDIO]
A coalition of activists calling itself 'New Jerseyans for Safety from Gun Violence' continues to urge Gov. Chris Christie to sign a package of gun control bills that is on his desk. Nobody however, believes gun violence can be erased through legislation.
"New Jersey has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation," says Nicola Bocour, project director with Ceasefire New Jersey. "We also have some of the lowest per capita gun death rates, but we have gaps….I'm not sure that any one bill solves it, but what we've tried to do is put together a package that we think really closes a lot of the really obvious loopholes."
Yesterday, Bocour's group was focusing on one bill in particular. It would require universal background checks for all gun purchases, gun safety training and it would upgrade the penalties for allowing a child to gain access to a firearm.
"We really view it as a responsible gun owner bill," says Bocour. "The provisions in there really are focused on making sure gun owners exercise responsibility and that we're doing everything we can to protect, first and foremost, our children."
The coalition set out 180 pairs of shoes representing people who have been shot to death in the Garden State since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. That tragedy took place in December of last year.
A total of 15 gun control bills await action from Christie, but there's no clear deadline. According to a spokesman with the legislature, he will have to take action on Assembly originated legislation the next time the Assembly has a quorum and the same for the Senate originated measures, but it's unclear when that will take place in either house.
In an emailed response to a request seeking comment the first time the group held a State House press conference late last month, a Christie spokesman wrote, "In April, Governor Christie proposed his own comprehensive and responsible plan to reduce gun violence and help keep our streets and state safe. He will review the bills passed by the legislature, and announce a decision within the allotted 45 days."