Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords lobbies Christie, N.J. lawmakers for new domestic violence gun law

By Matt Friedman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 18, 2015

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords addresses the roundtable the begging of the meeting. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords comes to NJ to push new domestic violence firearms laws. She attends the Gun Violence Agaisnt Women Roundtable held at the Statehouse

 

TRENTON — Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman whose shooting four years ago rallied gun control activists, came to the Statehouse today to push for legislation that would tighten restrictions on access to guns for those charged with or convicted of domestic violence.

Giffords held a discussion with state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden) and nine women leaders on domestic violence and gun control issues.

She also met privately with Gov. Chris Christie, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester).

During the public discussion, Giffords — an Arizona Democrat who has struggled to speak since being shot in the head in 2011 at a constituent relations event — limited herself to just one comment.

"Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. Criminals with guns, abusers with guns, stalkers with guns — that makes gun violence a women's issue," Giffords said. "For mothers, for families, for me and you, women can lead the way. We stand for common sense, We stand for responsibility. We can change the laws, we can win elections."

In the aftermath of Giffords' shooting in Tuscon, in which a mentally ill man killed six people and wounded 12 others, Giffords has started a non-profit to push for new gun control measures and a super PAC to support candidates who want tougher gun laws.

The bill at issue (A4218) would make changes to the state's domestic violence law regarding the seizure of weapons

The state already bars convicted offenders from purchasing and possessing guns, though Giffords' group in a press release said the bill would "close the current loophole in state law that allows individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and subject to domestic violence protection orders to continue to legally possess guns."

Among other things, the bill would:

• Require prosecutors to inform domestic violence victims that they have the ability to seek revocation of a defendant's firearms ID cards and purchase permits before the guns are returned.

• Require forms for filing domestic violence restraining to have a space for the victim to detail the defendant's access to firearms.

• Require those subject to domestic violence restraining orders to immediately turn in their guns. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, judges in New Jersey can order those under restraining orders to surrender firearms, but are not required to.

• Require authorities to search a registry of domestic violence reports before issuing gun purchase permits

Mosquera, whose mother is a domestic violence survivor, called domestic violence and guns a "a lethal combination.."

"It's important to me because I lived through it. My mother is a survivor of domestic violence, and I witnessed that struggle and that pain and that fear that my mother had through the eyes of a child," Mosquera said. "My mom had been very lucky because she was able to get out. There are many women and men who are victims of domestic violence and they are not able to get out."

New Jersey already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Weinberg acknowledge that, but said "there are loopholes."

Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said that "Governor Christie has incredible respect and admiration for the courage and perseverance of former Representative Giffords and he was honored to have the opportunity to meet with her this afternoon and discuss domestic violence and gun violence issues."

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment