On Wednesday, June 13th, a series of gun violence prevention bills were signed into law by Governor Murphy. These bills will strengthen our already strong gun laws in New Jersey and none of these new laws infringe on anyone’s right to keep and bear arms.
Unfortunately, Senator Oroho and Assemblymen, Space and Wirths our Legislative District 24 representatives voted NO to a majority of the bills. Time and time again our representatives put the rights of gun owners ahead of the rights of our children, family and neighbors to feel safe going to school, church, or anywhere.
After Parkland, Oroho, Space and Wirths introduced a statement on school safety legislation to “harden” our schools. In the statement they declared, “Our focus is on how to better protect the schools and the students and the educational professionals employed there.”
Oroho, Space and Wirths voted NO to a bill that would reduce the magazine capacity from 15 to 10. Imagine a school shooter enters a school and shoots at the students and the educational professionals employed there with a weapon containing 10 magazine rounds instead of a 15 magazine. The shooter is forced to stop to reload sooner allowing time for students and teachers to escape and allowing more time for law enforcement to interfere and stop them. Clearly lives are saved in this scenario.
Oroho, Space and Wirths voted NO to the Extreme Risk Protection Order(ERPO) or “red flag law”. Many times family and friends have noticed that many school shooters exhibit warning signs, changes in behavior, prior to committing senseless violence. This new ERPO law empowers families, household members, or law enforcement officers to temporarily remove a person’s access to firearms before they commit violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates are increasing 25 percent nationally. In 2016, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides. Researchers from Duke University estimate in Connecticut, that has had an ERPO law since 1999, one averted suicide for every 10 to 11 guns removed. The study also found that in 44 percent of the cases, the request for a risk warrant led to the person receiving psychiatric treatment. Researchers at the University of Indianapolis found that in Indiana and Connecticut, the legislation led to reductions in gun-related suicides. This law has received bi-partisan support from prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
It is extremely disappointing that our representatives again got this wrong. It is time that all our representatives, including Senator Oroho, and Assemblymen, Space and Wirths recognize that they need to represent the rights of ALL their constituents. The people of the LD 24 deserve better!
Sue Hannon, Sparta, NJ