On Monday, March 14, the New Jersey Senate is scheduled to consider S.805. Yesterday, Republican Senators Christopher Bateman and James Holzapfel joined their Democratic colleagues in passing S.805 through the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with a 5-0 vote.
Domestic violence is shameful and those who commit violent acts against domestic partners should be harshly punished. On that point, there is firm conviction and agreement. That is why it is all the more troubling when politicians in Trenton are focused on perpetuating a failed agenda instead of getting serious about a serious issue.
Sponsored by state Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37), S.805 is a recycled version of a bill that was vetoed last session by Governor Chris Christie. This bill is not only a repeat from last year, it is a template bill as part of a nationwide agenda being pushed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group. What proponents of the bill fail to tell you is that New Jersey already has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country, in addition to federal law. Even more unforgivable, the proponents of S.805 have completely ignored real legislation that would enhance penalties on convicted violent abusers. A.4866 was introduced last year and would have punished convicted violent domestic abusers with tough penalties. This year, a version of A.4866 has been reintroduced – S.1905.
Senator Weinberg’s legislation fails to empower victims. It also creates new victims because it does nothing to address the real, albeit rare, circumstance where false accusations are made. It fails to address cases where weapons other than guns are used. There are also technical problems with the bill, including punishing someone for failing to surrender a gun which has been previously sold. S.805 requires a person to pay police to store their guns, even if they are cleared of all charges. The bill also takes conduct, such as a verbal argument or annoying someone, and turns it in to a forfeiture of property and suspension of constitutional rights with little guarantee of due process. These are only a few of the serious flaws contained in S.805. If lawmakers truly want to make a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims, they will stop playing games with bills like S.805 and adopt legislation like S.1905 which severely punishes truly violent domestic abusers.
Please contact your state Senator and respectfully urge him or her to OPPOSE S.805 when it comes up for a vote. You can contact your state Senator by clicking here or the above button.