On Thursday, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto will reintroduce a vote in the Assembly in an effort to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of gun legislation aimed at making it more difficult for those with a mental health record to get guns. Earlier this month, the Assembly was unable to repeat the success of the state Senate who overrode the veto in October. Not enough Assembly Republicans parted ways with Governor Christie, leaving the Dems three votes shy. Prieto’s decision to reintroduce the vote suggests that he may have secured the Republican votes to complete the override.
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39) will not be one of those votes.
According to the Assemblywoman, the current legislation does not do enough to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health issues. As it stands, the bill only requires law enforcement to be notified in the event someone with a mental health record that has been expunged attempts to buy a gun. Republicans who oppose the bill say that law enforcement should be notified of an expunged mental health record regardless of whether or not someone seeks to purchase a gun.
“I think it just proves that rather than attempting to put forth something that protects the public and really gets to the heart of a comprehensive reform to ensure that guns don’t fall into the hands of people with mental health issues that this is being driven solely by politics,” Schepisi said.
According to Schepisi, her ‘no’ vote will be unwavering unless the bill’s language is changed.
“I don’t care if he puts it up a hundred times,” she said of Speaker Prieto. “I am sticking with ‘no.’ In the event of a more comprehensive bill coming forward, it has my unequivocal support.”
Last week, Republican state leaders Jon Bramnick and Scott Rumana proposed that lawmakers revisit a similar bill put forward by State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. that they say closes the loophole.
According to a Republican source, any changes in votes among the Republican caucus are unlikely. Currently, Democrats are framing the bill as a “common sense” piece of public safety legislation so, according to the source, Democrats may be reintroducing the vote as a point of leverage among voters when looking at the next election cycle.