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Pallone, Watson Coleman and Advocates Call on Congress to take Immediate Action to Reduce Gun Violence

June 20, 2016
Press Release

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ– Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and advocates for reducing gun violence held a press conference calling for action in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Orlando, FL last week. Representatives from The Coalition for Peace Action, NJ Million Mom March, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Garden State Equality and the Islamic Society of Central Jersey were also in attendance.

The press conference focused on the impact that gun violence has had on different communities throughout the country, including the LGBT community. Pallone and Watson Coleman called on Congressional Republicans to support common sense measures such as banning those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, banning assault weapons and requiring ID for online ammunition sales.

“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. It is not enough to call for action, we must enact change. We have reached a point as lawmakers and as Americans where we have a question to answer: Can we stand up to special interests and enact the sensible, bipartisan gun reforms that a majority of Americans want and can save lives? We owe the victims of the horrific tragedies in Orlando, Newtown and so many more a meaningful policy change to reduce the threat of gun violence in our communities.”

“After every attempted terrorist attack, we’ve had changes in our security, from taking shoes off during screening at airports to how much liquid we can take on an airplane,” said Waston Coleman. “But after Virginia Tech, after Fort Hood, after Newtown, after San Bernardino, and after the countless lives lost in our communities every single day, Congress has done nothing to reduce gun violence. It is outrageous that you can go online to purchase and stockpile bullets without ever showing an ID; it is insanity that Congress continues to refuse to implement strong, uniform background checks before allowing someone to purchase a deadly weapon; It is appalling that the NRA can outweigh the calls of law enforcement who want to stop the sale of assault weapons. It’s time for basic changes that keep Americans safe, and it’s time for Americans from all walks of life to stand together and join us in saying enough is enough.”

Pallone and Watson Coleman are cosponsors of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, which would ensure that no such guns are manufactured while placing new restrictions on the sale of already existing assault weapons. Both Members also support preventing those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms.

In 2015 Watson Coleman introduced and Pallone co-sponsored The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2015, which requires federally licensed ammunitions dealers to confirm the identity of individuals who arrange to purchase ammunition over the internet by verifying their identity in person with a photo I.D. The bill also requires ammunition vendors to report any sales of more than 1,000 rounds within five consecutive days to the U.S. Attorney General if the person purchasing ammunition is not a licensed dealer.

“Gun violence is a constant reality faced by our members and in communities throughout New Jersey on a daily basis,” said NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan.  “We hope today’s efforts are a starting point for all members of Congress to come together in support of these measures banning people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, banning assault weapons and requiring ID for online ammunition sales.  These simple gun safety measures can go a long way towards protecting our members and helping to ensure public safety. We would like to thank Rep. Pallone and Rep. Watson Coleman on behalf of the 33,000 members of the PBA for their critical leadership in taking on this important fight.” 

“The idea that a ‘good guy with a gun’ is the only thing that can stop such carnage is fantasy,” said Reverend Robert Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action. “In Orlando, an off duty police officer was present when the shooting started. But after firing initial shots, he had to retreat as he was vastly outgunned. Even when two other officers arrived for back-up, they were unable to stop the shooter. There are additional common sense measures that could help prevent future mass shootings, such as excluding those on the terrorist watch list from being allowed to purchase guns; and the bill in the NJ legislature to remove guns from those involved in domestic violence situations.”