The first three bills in the New Jersey legislature's gun control package are now on Governor Chris Christie's desk.

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Measures to create a task force to study ways to improve safety in schools, make it easier to track abandoned and seized forearms and establish a 180-day window for people to turn in illegal weapons have all received final legislative approval.

"Today represents a key step toward the Assembly's goal of a safer New Jersey," says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. "These bills will improve school security, keep guns away from those who shouldn't be able to purchase them, enhance efforts by law enforcement and get unlawful weapons off our streets."

Another bill that would require submission of certain mental health records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System had to be amended, but was approved by the Assembly and sent to the Senate for final legislative approval consideration.

"Getting the Assembly approved bill to ban firearm magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition into law remains a priority, but today is great progress for the people of New Jersey," says Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald. "These bills would help make our communities safer, and represent the first of many common sense bills we will be sending to the governor's desk, hopefully to be signed into law."

The measure to improve school security throughout New Jersey is a bi-partisan bill. It's sponsored in the Assembly by Democrats Gilbert "Whip" Wilson, Gordon Johnson, Connie Wagner, Pam Lampitt, Benjie Wimberly, Annette Quijano and Celeste Riley. On the Republican side the sponsors are Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy A. Muñoz.

"The Newtown shooting showed us that evil can strike anywhere, even in a school filled with small, defenseless children," says Wilson. "This bill helps ensure a safer learning environment for students and staff members by creating a special task force charged with developing strategies to help address school safety issues and hopefully prevent another tragedy."

The Assembly approved legislation was first introduced by Bramnick in 2008 and since supported by Muñoz and several other Republican and Democratic legislators.

"We need to make sure New Jersey schools are doing everything possible to keep our children safe," says Bramnick. "This bipartisan task force will include top school safety experts who will conduct a comprehensive, level-headed review of our schools' security policies."

Legislation to create uniform reporting requirements to log and track abandoned, discarded or seized firearms was approved 51-27 by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval. It's sponsored by sponsored by Assembly Democrats Charles Mainor and Tim Eustace.

"The systems and technology to report and track abandoned or seized weapons are out there, but what's really needed are standard procedures to help make sure this gets done," says Mainor, who is also a detective with the Jersey City Police Department. "These procedures are critical to solving gun-related crimes, getting criminals off the street and preventing future crimes."

The measure to establish a 180-day period for a person who unlawfully possesses an unlicensed and unregistered firearm to dispose of it by transferring it, turning it over to the police or rendering it inoperable is also sponsored by Mainor.

"New Jersey once provided an opportunity for residents to do the right thing and turn over assault weapons," explains Mainor. "We can provide that same encouragement again free of judgment, punishment and penalty."

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