Anti-gun politicians are back to business next week in Trenton as the Law & Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hear A.1211, sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-4), on Monday. This legislation is the companion bill to S.805, sponsored by state Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37), which passed the Senate a couple weeks ago. This same legislation was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie at the end of the 2015 session. NRA testified against the bill in 2015 and at the hearing earlier this year. Undeterred, anti-gun lawmakers immediately refiled this legislation at the beginning of the 2016 session.
NRA supports tough penalties for convicted violent domestic abusers, but this legislation is poised to create more of the same traps and pitfalls that have infamously ensnared unwitting gun owners in New Jersey in the past. For example, the bill makes no provisions for someone who has been falsely accused or exonerated.
A.1211 is unnecessary and is being driven as part of a nationwide campaign by anti-gun groups to remove due process when making an individual surrender their constitutional rights. In addition to federal law, New Jersey has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country with respect to firearms. In fact, law enforcement already routinely forces the surrender of firearms, FID cards and purchase permits in domestic disturbance cases. A.1211 is flawed in that it builds on the same problems that exist in current law. The legislation is fixated on guns, to the exclusion of offenders who commit violent acts with fists, hammers, clubs, knives and other tools. Few people are also aware that a “domestic violence act” is defined so broadly in New Jersey law that it includes minor verbal arguments. Unfortunately, the distinction between violent acts and verbal arguments doesn’t matter when it comes to A.1211. A person could potentially face a lifetime gun ban and suspension of constitutional rights for crimes they weren’t convicted of. The focus of this bill isn’t on punishing violent offenders, it’s focused on the subset of those accused in domestic disputes who happen to be gun owners. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that accusations are not convictions.
Rather than take this opportunity to get tough on violent domestic abusers and fix problems in current statute, New Jersey anti-gun politicians are more interested in pursuing a political agenda. Please contact members of the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE A.1211. You can contact members of the committee by clicking here or the Take Action button above.