Tomorrow, March 3, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee will be holding a hearing on a flawed piece of legislation that will irreparably damage the rights restoration process in New Jersey. It has always been our firm position that those individuals who have been adjudicated with mental health issues should not have access to firearms. However, S.1165, sponsored by state Senators Fred Madden (D-4) and Linda Greenstein (D-14), will be a redundant and damaging bill that will only serve to stigmatize recovered individuals, complicate an already confusing process and not alleviate any legitimate public safety concern.
One of the biggest problems with this bill is that it will invalidate all current, legal expungements as well as force individuals who have already been medically cleared to go through this cumbersome process again, at tremendous expense. Even more troubling, S.1165 will only serve to discourage people from seeking the professional help they may need, which is antithetical to the bill's purported goal. Those who commit themselves to undertaking these important processes for recovery should not be unnecessarily punished after doing so.
New Jersey has already been certified as compliant with the federal requirements established by the 2007 NICS Improvement Act, and the state has received grants in accordance with their compliance. Ultimately, this bill is not only unnecessary and duplicative, but it is damaging. Lawmakers should abandon this effort to harass people who have gone through a legal and medical process to reestablish their constitutional rights, and instead focus on real issues of public safety in our communities.
Please contact members of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and respectfully ask them to oppose S.1165 when it comes up for a vote. You can contact members of the committee by clicking here or the above button.