Mosquera, Greenwald & Weinberg Unveil Legislation to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Gun Violence

February 12, 2015

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg will introduce legislation on Thursday to strengthen New Jersey's gun laws and protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence.

"For victims and their children, domestic violence turns a chance to live the American Dream into a horrific nightmare. I know, because I've lived that nightmare," said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden). "Too many victims are killed before they ever have a chance to get out, at the hands of abusers who have easy access to firearms. This legislation will change that - strengthening our gun violence laws in order to protect victims of domestic violence."

"Study after study tells us that domestic violence and firearms are a deadly combination," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "But these numbers are not just statistics. They represent real lives that have been shattered. We're taking this issue head-on and strengthening our gun laws to save those lives."

"Gun violence perpetrated against women often stems from domestic violence incidents that escalate and turn tragic," said Weinberg (D-Bergen). "We have to do more to protect the lives of women and children who find themselves in a dangerous family situation. By imposing stronger laws that limit abusers' access to firearms we will better protect victims against preventable and, too often, fatal gun violence."

The facts about domestic abuse and firearms access are sobering:
· A 2014 study from the Violence Policy Center examining 2012 homicide data reported that 52 percent of females who were murdered were killed with a gun;
· This study further found that, of those females who were killed with a gun, 61 percent were killed by their male intimate partners - and that most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument; and
· The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence recently reported that for 2011, 53.6 percent of female homicide victims in New Jersey were killed in domestic violence incidents.
"New Jersey has strong gun laws, but all too often, these laws fail to sufficiently protect victims of domestic violence," said Mosquera. "Today, we are saying enough is enough and taking action to change that."
Among other provisions, the bill would:
· Require domestic abusers to surrender their firearms while a domestic violence restraining order is in effect, or when they are convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense;
· Require an abuser's firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase a handgun to be suspended during domestic violence restraining orders;
· Require an abuser's firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase a handgun to be revoked if the individual is convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense; and
· Require cross-referencing of records to assist in determining whether an alleged domestic abuser owns a firearm in order to assist law enforcement's ability to ensure that an abuser does not have access to firearms.

"This bill is a step in the right direction for New Jersey's victims of domestic violence," said Mosquera. "Today is the beginning of the process, and I look forward to working closely with the victims' advocates as we move forward."

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