With Guns in National Spotlight, Officials Weigh In

Donald Norcross spoke about "senseless violence."

Donald Norcross spoke about “senseless violence.” PolitickerNJ

One day after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of at least 14 in San Bernardino, California, gun legislation is taking center-stage at both the national and state levels.

Nationally, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is attempting to push a vote on gun legislation during today’s Planned Parenthood hearing. According to a representative for New Jersey U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, the senator “100% supports” the call for a vote.

Statewide, the Assembly is voting on whether or not to override gun legislation that Governor Chris Christie has vetoed. That legislation has provisions requiring notification of local law enforcement before the attempt to expunge mental health records of those aiming to purchase firearms. In October, the state Senate overrode the legislation so, if enough votes are tallied in the Assembly today, it will mark the first overturned veto since Governor Christie took office in 2010.

Some officials are now speaking out in favor or more stringent gun laws. One of those officials is Congressman Donald Norcross (D-1). Today he released a statement condemning the “senseless violence” in the U.S.

His statement read:

“Once again Americans are mourning the victims of another mass shooting. While the details surrounding the massacre in San Bernadino are still coming in, we know tragedies like this are all too common, and that together we must find meaningful ways to prevent this senseless violence.

While I served in the New Jersey Legislature we worked to increase mental health services and closed a loophole in the law to prevent people on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms. Now I’m calling for the same common sense actions in Congress and working across party lines to get it done.

We’ll never be able to stop every tragedy, especially if we continue to do nothing about them. I’m sick of this. Let’s resolve today to take responsible steps to prevent another day like this.”

Norcross’ name has been floated as a potential follow-up to Senator Menendez as he continues to face legal trouble due to an indictment where he was alleged to have accepted gifts in exchange for political favors.

Senate President Steve Sweeney—who led the charge in the Senate override in October—also shared his thoughts on the national gun issue. In his statement he dismissed the attempts of a pro-gun group called the Second Amendment Society to recall him from office. Now, he says that his actions in the state senate must be followed through in the assembly.

“Six weeks ago, we showed that we can get things done on gun safety when we stood up to the governor and overrode his veto of legislation that would make sure judges had all the relevant information before deciding whether or not to expunge a mental health record for the purpose of buying a gun. And we did it with bipartisan support. This was more proof that good people can come together and do the right thing to keep our citizens safe. Since then, we have seen more tragic shootings that have taken too many lives.

“We should not be afraid to follow through on our efforts with the knowledge that we are doing the right thing for New Jersey.”

Before the vote at today’s hearing, bill sponsor Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) said, “This bill has nothing to do with politics. This is all about public safety. The Administrative Office of the Courts asked for this legislation, with good reason. Less than six months ago, we approved it 74-0… This bill is about common sense and public safety. Those who attempt to make it about something else, well, let’s face it – they will be embarrassed and show themselves to be truly out-of-touch with New Jersey.”

With Guns in National Spotlight, Officials Weigh In