Gun violence measure discussed

TRENTON – Lawmakers held a public discussion regarding Senate Democrats’ response to gun violence in the state and the nation, including the school shootings last year in Newtown, Conn.

Sen. Ray Lesniak’s four-part proposal aimed at stemming gun violence in the state was at the center of a discussion during a Senate Law and Public Safety Committee hearing Monday.

The legislation, S2430, has four components: It would declare violence a public health crisis; it would establish a Study Commission on Violence; it would support President Barack Obama’s proposal to combat gun violence that recently rolled out on the national stage; and it would provide funding for mental health care facilities.

“The purpose of this legislation is to change the culture of violence in our state,” Lesniak said. “Enough is enough.”

The bill was held from a vote in order for amendments to be added to the legislation, Lesniak said.

The proposal was backed by a wide range of local officials and community leaders who were present during the committee hearing to deliver one message to lawmakers: Enough is enough, they argued.

“I humbly ask that the committee support this,” said Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley, who urged lawmakers to “establish this infrastructure” that would help officials make their “communities safer for all.”

The committee discussion comes a short time after Gov. Chris Christie rolled out his plan to address gun violence and mental health issues in New Jersey.

The governor established a commission to investigate causes of gun violence and develop strategies for combating the state of violence in society.

The commission is slated to deliver a report to the governor within 60 days, which Lesniak argues does not go far enough to combat violence.

“This problem isn’t going to be solved with any two-month study,” Lesniak said.

“It’s certainly more broad based and makes specific recommendations – now,” he said

Earlier stories:

Lesniak, Turner to introduce bill to address gun violence, mental health issues

Christie assembles N.J. task foce to undertake report on violence

Gun violence measure discussed