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Pallone & Watson Coleman Call for Action to Combat Handgun Violence in NJ Communities

May 31, 2018
Press Release

New Brunswick, NJ — Today, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler and state and local officials called on Congress to act on common sense solutions to reduce gun violence. In April, Watson Coleman introduced the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2018, with Pallone as an original cosponsor. The legislation would overturn an outdated 1986 law to build a framework of commonsense standards for handgun gun ownership in the United States by creating a federal licensing and registration process for gun ownership.

“The National Rifle Association has threatened, fundraised and strong-armed the debate around the second amendment for so long that commonsense measures — measures that would bring down rates of gun violence and even receive the support of law enforcement — have been deemed taboo. To that I say no more,” said Watson Coleman. “Our kids deserve to feel safe at school. Our communities deserve to be safe at home and in their daily lives. Our country is supposed to be a model for the world yet with guns we have more deaths, more mass shootings than any other nation. This bill, like dozens of other basic proposals, would fix some of our gun violence problems. We register to vote, we register our vehicles, we register businesses — why don’t we do the same for weapons?”

“The plague of gun violence in our communities is completely unacceptable,” said Pallone. “As Members of Congress, it is not enough to ask for a moment of silence. It is not enough to express our thoughts and prayers. We must now follow the lead of the thousands of young people who came out to demand change last week and enact common sense solutions to reduce gun violence. The Handgun Licensing and Registration Act would provide real solutions that will not only help prevent mass shootings like what we saw recently in Parkland and in Sante Fe, but also curb the gun violence we see in our communities every day.”

“Gun violence is a pervasive and urgent problem which requires substantial action at all levels of government,” Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler said.  “I am heartened that two members of Congress are choosing Piscataway at which to promote sensible measures that ensure our children’s and community’s safety.”

The Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2018 requires that:

  • The person seeking gun ownership is at least 21 years old;
  • The person undergoes firearm training;
  • The handgun owner has undergone a criminal history and background check, including submitting fingerprints and photographs, and;
  • A license renewal process after five years of issuance.

Piscataway Ward 3 Councilmember Steven D. Cahn has introduced a Township ordinance that would ban retail sales of guns and ammunition within 1,000 feet of schools, day care sites, college campuses, medical facilities, bars, parks, places of worship and similar sites.

According to Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Americans own an estimated 270 million firearms, which is approximately 90 guns for every 100 people, yet most states lack a system to easily identify a gun owner and many require little or no firearm safety training. The Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2018 would set nationwide standards for gun ownership while finally providing a functional tool to prevent gun violence in all its forms.