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About Ceasefire NJ

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Opinion: Vital Measures Will Help Curb Gun Violence
Opinion piece by Nicola Bocour, Legislative Director of Ceasefire NJ
published March 28, 2014 in the Bergen Record

 A New Jersey Assembley panel voted to support a bill (A2006) that would reduce the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.  While the bill is significant, the concept is not new, nor is it unique.  What the Legislature seeks to do is to join other states that have moved to a 10-round limit. [read full article]

 

Press Release by Ceasefire NJ in response to Shooting at Garden State Plaza Mall  

Leading gun violence prevention group in NJ is thankful that all residents, shoppers, employees, and law enforcement in Paramus are safe after gunman fires shots inside Garden State Plaza; disappointed by Governor Christie’s inaction regarding this distressing threat to public safety.

Ceasefire NJ, the leading gun violence prevention group in NJ and a Project of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, is thankful that all residents, shoppers, employees, and law enforcement in Paramus are safe today after a gunman opened fire inside Garden State Plaza Mall.  We, like so many, hoped and prayed for the safety of all and are glad that New Jersey did not suffer any more injury or loss of life. 

Ceasefire NJ advocates for a comprehensive approach to this problem.  Nicola Bocour, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ says, “We must work to keep guns out of the wrong hands, whether that is possession by a criminal, access by the mentally ill, or the grasp of a child.  And we must work to make sure that unreasonably lethal weapons aren’t available to the public to cause massive, terroristic destruction.” 

In order to address these needs and ensure a stronger and safer New Jersey, we need our elected officials to show leadership.  Ceasefire NJ is grossly disappointed in the lack of response by Governor Christie as he stayed silent for the duration of this distressing threat to public safety.  Bryan Miller, former Executive Director of Ceasefire NJ and current Executive Director of Heeding God’s Call says, “Gov. Christie is our elected commander-in-chief, and he sure talks tough, but yet when there was a gunman believed to be threatening the lives of thousands of New Jerseyans, he failed to take any action or show any immediate concern.”

The Governor finally addressed the nationally-covered shooting late this morning by blaming the NJ Legislature for failing to act on mental health.  He argued that they should have embraced his entire “anti-violence proposal” from earlier this year.  Miller calls out the Governor’s hypocrisy by saying, “How dare he try to blame the Legislature. If he wants to point fingers, then he should point one at himself and explain his veto of the .50 caliber ban that he put in that very same proposal.” 

This summer, Governor Christie said, “As elected leaders, our first duty is to maintain public safety.”  Ceasefire’s Nicola Bocour responds, “With his vetoes of key gun violence prevention bills and this attempt to hide behind the Legislature to cover his own inaction, Governor Christie has breached his duty and refused to put public safety first.” 

 

Special thanks to our colleagues at Bergen County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence for the update below!

Over the summer of 2013, the Bergen County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence carefully monitored the progress of anti-gun violence legislation.

Here’s a summary:

Governor Christie, at least in part thanks to the strength of our coalition’s urging, signed 11 anti-gun violence bills in June and July. However, he rejected these three:

  1. Senate Bill No. 2723, which we deemed to be the most important, sought to create a new regulatory system to link all firearms permits and records regarding gun ownership into a digital card. The governor claims the technology isn’t ready. Conditionally vetoed (sent back to be revised).
  2. Assembly Bill No. 3797, which deals with reporting by the State Police to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The governor claims the bill needs to be modified to comport with Federal Law. Conditionally vetoed.
  3. Assembly Bill No. 3659, which would have revised the definition of "destructive device" to include weapons of .50 caliber or greater, or any weapon capable of attaining a muzzle energy of 12,000 foot/pounds. Vetoed.

We cannot and must not give up on the bills Governor Christie vetoed.  We must also continue to work in partnership with groups throughout the state to find and support common sense measures to prevent gun violence in New Jersey and also on the federal level.

We urge you to vote only for candidates who support stronger anti-gun violence legislation. To that end, we are preparing a short questionnaire to present to all candidates for NJ Senate and Assembly. We will share the results with you as soon as we can. While we wait for the outcomes of the state elections, please contact your current legislators and urge them to support the strongest anti-gun violence legislation possible.

The opposition is loud, but we are very much in the majority.

CFPA's Gun Violence Prevention Project,
Ceasefire New Jersey

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 New Jerseyans for Safety from Gun Violence
Working to Make Garden State Homes, Schools and Communities Safer from Gun Violence

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT OF NEW JERSEYANS FOR SAFETY FROM GUN VIOLENCE ABOUT GOVERNOR CHRISTIE'S SIGNING OF TEN GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION BILLS TODAY

Governor Christie's signature on ten gun violence prevention bills this afternoon is certainly a step in the right direction, but, make no mistake, it is only a step. In order to truly protect the lives, homes, schools and neighborhoods of the Garden State he must complete the task before him and sign the remaining gun violence prevention bills on his desk.

These include S2723 an omnibus bill that would modernize the state's critical gun purchase structure without trampling on law abiding gun owners' Second Amendment rights. It would also require gun purchasers and owners to undergo firearms safety training, much as we require driver safety training. And, this bill has provisions that will make it far less likely that any New Jersey family will suffer the devastating loss of a child due to careless gun storage, as happened recently in Toms River.

The Governor has been increasingly outspoken lately about homeland security, a subject especially near and dear to New Jerseyan's hearts. In this interest he, thankfully, signed today legislation prohibiting gun sales to individuals on the federal Terrorist Watch List, but it is not enough. He has yet to act on a bill, A3659, on which he is on record calling for enactment, to prohibit sales of incredibly destructive .50 Caliber sniper rifles. These military weapons are designed to destroy at great distance the sort of material targets that abound in our state, such as chemical plants, refineries, rail tank cars and passenger aircraft. Taking the Governor's words to US Senator Rand Paul at face value, it is confusing that A3659 remains unsigned.

Finally, in order for policy makers and the public to make wise public safety decisions, they need all available information. The Governor has taken no action yet on A3797, a bill that would make crucial information, that legislators, municipal officials and the citizenry cannot now see, public on illegal gun flows, enabling the creation and maintenance of well targeted public safety policies.

Therefore, New Jerseyans for Safety from Gun Violence stands with the vast majority of Garden State residents in calling on the Governor to finish his work by signing the remaining bills at once – for safety's sake.


Click here for an excellent update on gun violence since Newtown from Bill Moyers' web page. 

Click Here for a Summary of the 24 gun violence prevention bills recently passed by the NJ Assembly

Quick Fact Sheet  on Gun Violence Prevention

Resource Page from Mayors Against Illegal Guns



"Senators Quietly Seek New Path on Gun Control,"
New York Times 04/25/13

WASHINGTON — Talks to revive gun control legislation are quietly under way on Capitol Hill as a bipartisan group of senators seeks a way to bridge the differences that led to last week’s collapse of the most serious effort to overhaul the country’s gun laws in 20 years.

Drawing on the lessons from battles in the 1980s and ’90s over the Brady Bill, which failed in Congress several times before ultimately passing, gun control supporters believe they can prevail by working on a two-pronged strategy. First, they are identifying senators who might be willing to change their votes and support a background check system with fewer loopholes.

Second, they are looking to build a national campaign that would better harness overwhelming public support for universal background checks — which many national polls put at near 90 percent approval — to pressure lawmakers [Read More]


 

 

Lou Greenwald Photo 3

CFPA's Ceasefire NJ Project Director, Nicola Bocour (second from right) meets with Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (second from left), primary sponsor of gun violence prevention legislation in the New Jersey Assembly. Some 22 bills, including the ones Assemblyman Greenwald sponsored, were passed on February 21.


 

"Do Gun Buybacks Reduce Gun Violence?"
NJ Spotlight, 04/04

State officials, with the help of local authorities, have been conducting a gun buyback campaign in several New Jersey cities, an effort to reduce gun-related crimes that they say was planned before the Newtown, CT, shooting. Since December, the state has spent $1.2 million on five buybacks. They’ve collected a record haul of more than 9,000 firearms, including rocket launchers, assault weapons, and submachine guns.

Nicola Bocour, director of Ceasefire New Jersey, said the focus should be on the legislation.

“That’s the most effective way to deal with this issue,” she said.

The Assembly approved a multibill package on February 21 that would require all ammunition sales to be conducted by licensed dealers on a face-to-face basis, banning mail order sales; limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds; and prohibiting the state pension system from investing in companies that manufacture or import assault weapons for civilian use. The bills have been sent to the Senate and have not been assigned to a committee.

“We have been urging the Senate to bring through committee and to the floor the same bills and the same content,” Bocour said. “ We are advocating they not change them to water them down. We believe in the legislation passed by the Assembly and we want to see them put in place.”

She said that Ceasefire is not opposed to buyback programs -- they help create awareness of the issues surrounding guns -- but there is a concern that focusing on buybacks could ultimately be deceptive, creating an impression that something is being done when it is not.

“There are too many guns in circulation and it is better to have them back in responsible hands rather than have them out there floating around,” she said. “But if someone was going to tell me that you have five things to do to combat gun violence, I am not sure if [buybacks] would be in the top five or even the top 10.” [Read More]


 

"New Jersey Assembly Panel Backs Tougher Gun Laws"
New York Times
(02/14)

NJ_Assembly

Nicola Bocour, the project director of Ceasefire NJ, noted that several rampages, including the one by Jared Lee Loughner, who shot 19 people, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson in 2011, were stopped only when the killer paused to reload. The ban, she said, “would make it more difficult for shooters to inflict maximum damage in a short period of time.” [Read More]


 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2013

Ceasefire NJ Statement on Governor Chris Christie’s Press Conference on Gun Violence

Princeton, NJ—

Ceasefire NJ, the state’s leading gun violence prevention organization, was pleased to hear Governor Chris Christie cite New Jersey’s strong gun laws as one of the areas in which NJ has been successful in addressing the issue of gun violence.  We agree with the Governor that NJ has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation and are, like him, very proud of that fact and believe that our laws have made this state safer.  The Governor himself acknowledged that there is a problem of gun violence in this country and in this state and we maintain that there are ways to significantly reduce the violence through new common-sense legislation on both the federal and state levels.

We are encouraged that Governor Christie specifically referred to New Jersey's longstanding and effective ban on assault weapons as a "common sense" measure. However, we would ask the Governor, “If it is good common sense for New Jersey, why not for the nation?”  Governor Christie repeatedly refused to address the proposal for a new Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the rest of President Obama’s proposals to reduce gun violence, citing that it was not appropriate for him to comment on this federal issue before Congress.  Nicola Bocour, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ, said, "It was puzzling to hear the Governor brag about the number of hours he spent on the phone during the holidays pressuring members of the House and Senate on Sandy relief aid. He was very effective there. How could he, almost in the same breath, claim that he has no influence over Congressional action on gun violence prevention proposals?"

Ceasefire NJ does intend to meet with the Governor’s task force to discuss gun violence prevention policy in New Jersey, but we believe that there are many actions that can be taken immediately to reduce gun violence and will advise that measures be taken before the 60-day time frame the Governor has allotted.  For example, we are delighted that the Governor endorsed cracking down on illegal gun trafficking into New Jersey by citing the effectiveness of efforts to go after such illegal sales in originating in such lax gun law states as Ohio. We strongly urge additional such operations targeting illegal guns coming into the state and will recommend that New Jersey consult with New York City Mayor Bloomberg who has successfully reduced illegal guns on their streets using such tactics.


 

Civilians have no rights to assault weapons

By Chris Ziegler Times of Trenton guest opinion column January 2, 2013

 

Assault_weapons

An AR-15 style rifle sits on the counter by Craig Marshall as he assists a customer at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store on Dec. 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Ill. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The landmark case District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) was the first time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment upholds an individual’s right to possess a firearm. Contrary to popular opinion, this is actually a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The Amendment, which is one of the most awkwardly written sentences in American history, has always been fraught with ambiguity. Traditionally, the Court had ruled in cases such as United States vs. Miller (1939) that the Amendment’s first clause, about “a well regulated Militia,” expressed its true purpose. In Heller, however, Justice Scalia was able to convince the Court that the Amendment’s second clause, about “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” trumped the first clause, and that the word “people” somehow refers to individuals rather than to a militia or a collective. [Read more]

 


 

Princetonians Fill Palmer Square for Interfaith Service to Remember Shooting Victims

DECEMBER 20, 2012IN PLANET PRINCETON

vigil3The Palmer Square Green glowed with the light of dozens of candles tonight as about 300 people from various faith walks joined together to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.

Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and people of other beliefs gathered to take part in the “Gathering of Remembrance, Unity and Hope” sponsored by the Princeton Clergy Association, Coalition for Peace Action, the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, the Fellowship In Prayer, Palmer Square and the Nassau Inn.

"Our hearts, minds, thoughts and prayers are with the grieving families,” said Sutinder Singh  of the World Sikh Council. “Every time I think of the tragedy, tears come to my eyes. Their families are part of our family. Their children are our children.”

“People have been killed at colleges, cinemas, places of worship — and now, as if to wake us all up — it has happened in an elementary school,” Singh said. [more]

 

Click here to see a photo gallery of 41 photos from Mercerspace.com.


What Must Be Done To Prevent Future School Massacres?

Below is a transcript of an interview with Nicola Bocour, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ, a Project of the Coalition for Peace Action, that played on 101.5, the largest radio station in New Jersey.

Following the school massacre in Connecticut, discussion continues across New Jersey and around the nation about how best to try and prevent this kind of tragedy from happening in the future.

 

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Gun control advocates have some very specific suggestions.

Nicola Bocour, the Project Director of Ceasefire New Jersey, says we need to change the culture of guns in this country – and look at who has access to guns, and the type of guns that are available – and we need to have stricter training about how to use guns that are purchased legally.

She says Ceasefire believes, “There are 3 very simple, common-sense steps that need to be taken – that are supported by many gun owners, law enforcement officials and NRA members…One is to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban…the rifles that are used in these mass shootings that are designed for military and law enforcement can no longer be purchased by private citizens- they belong on the battlefield – it’s what they’re designed for.”

Bocour adds, “We also need to ban high capacity magazines, so that a single weapon can no longer be fired over 30, 50 even a hundred times without reloading…high capacity magazines are not needed in hunting or sporting or in self-protection…They are basically allowing the shooter to create as much damage- to shoot as many bullets in the shortest period of time without having to reload.” [more]

 


 

Princeton Candlelight Vigil for School Shooting Victims

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from Planet Princeton December 16, 2012   Photo by Seth Callen

About 50 people gathered at Palmer Square last night to remember the victims of the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The event was organized by Moveon.org and CeasefireNJ, a project of the Coalition for Peace Action. The organizers called for stricter gun laws in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. [Read more]



Peace Group calls for "Common Sense" Steps to Stem Gun Violence
September 4, 2012 in Politiker New Jersey

Peace group calls for "common sense" steps to stem gun violence

By Minhaj Hassan | September 4th, 2012 - 1:02pm

Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on favoritesShare on print|More Sharing STRENTON - After the shooting last week at an Old Bridge, Middlesex County, supermarket that took the lives of three people, the group Ceasefire New Jersey called on citizens and lawmakers both on the state and federal level to support “common sense” steps to reduce gun violence. [more]


Statement by Ceasefire NJ on August 31, 2012 Shooting in Old Bridge

Princeton, NJ—Ceasefire NJ is deeply saddened that yet another senseless shooting has occurred, tragically taking the lives of three people by use of an assault weapon.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families in Old Bridge as we solemnly reflect on how the overall lack of common-sense gun laws in this nation has left us vulnerable to attack.

New Jersey has the second strongest gun laws in the United States and ranks among the lowest in gun deaths per capita; however, we are still susceptible to gun violence by use of illegal weapons due to overwhelmingly weak gun laws elsewhere.  In order to prevent further gun violence in NJ, we must seriously address the illegal trafficking of guns into our state.

It has been reported by a Middlesex County Prosecutor that the weapons used in the Old Bridge shooting this morning were an AK-47 assault rifle and an automatic handgun.  Possession of each weapon is prohibited in New Jersey, however few other states have such restrictions.  These assault-style weapons are commonly used in mass shootings because of their unique ability to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time.  Assault weapons, used in the shootings in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Old Bridge, among others, belong on the battlefields, not on our streets.

We are facing an epidemic of gun violence in this nation.  Our hearts and prayers are with all of the victims of these terrible shootings, but that is not enough; we must also take action to prevent more such violence.  We must reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, pass the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, and implement common-sense regulations on the sale and ownership of guns in order to keep our communities safe.


 

NJ’s Tough Gun Laws Not Enough To Stop Old   Bridge Shooting

by Kevin McArdle, New Jersey's largest radio station--101.5

New Jersey’s strong gun laws couldn’t stop the shooting last Friday’s deadly shooting at an Old Bridge supermarket that left two victims and the gunman dead.

Leaders of the Garden State’s oldest and largest gun violence prevention group are calling for action at the federal level.

New Jersey still has an assault weapons ban, but the federal ban expired in 2004. Ceasefire New Jersey is calling for reinstatement of the ban, so that it would be more difficult to illegally traffic the weapons here. The group also wants federal legislation to close a loophole that allows people to buy guns at gun shows without having to undergo a background check and Ceasefire NJ is pushing for passage of the ‘Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.’

“Assault-style weapons are commonly used in mass shootings because of their unique ability to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time,” says Ceasefire NJ project manager Nicole Bocour. “Assault weapons used in the shootings in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek and Old Bridge, among others, belong on the battlefields, not on our streets.”

Ceasefire NJ is now under the umbrella of the Princeton-based ‘Coalition for Peace Action.’ Both organizations say they are not advocating for a ban on all gun sales. They simply want common sense safety measures in place. Officials say the right to self-defense is imperative.

Bocour says, “New Jersey has the second strongest gun laws in the United States and ranks among the lowest in gun deaths per capita. However, we are still susceptible to gun violence by use of illegal weapons due to overwhelmingly weak guns laws elsewhere.”

After July’s movie theater massacre in Colorado, politicians quickly began crawling out of the woodwork demanding tougher gun laws.

Governor Chris Christie said, “I agree with the President (Barack Obama). The President believes that we have enough gun laws on the books now and that we need to aggressively enforce the ones we have.”


 

COLORADO RAMPAGE SHOWS DANGER TO SOCIETY OF VOLATILE COMBINATION OF EXTREMISM AND GUNS DESIGNED FOR COMBAT
(published in Princeton Planet and the Trenton Times)

 

Ceasefire NJ Calls for Reinstatement of National Assault Weapons Ban

 

Below is a statement issued by the Ceasefire NJ Project of the Coalition for Peace Action.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families and we extend our condolences on this Friday, June 20th, following the massacre at the Aurora Theater in Aurora, Colorado.  Ceasefire NJ is deeply saddened that once again a massacre has occurred in the United States, with 12 lives senselessly taken by gun violence and another 38 people wounded.  Unfortunately, however, mass shootings such as this tragedy in Aurora are not surprising because of the ease of access to guns, especially assault weapons, which have no place in the hands of private citizens.     

According to recent coverage, the suspect in today's shooting used an "AK-type" assault weapon which is a military-style weapon designed to featuring high-capacity ammunition magazines capable of firing up to 30 rounds of ammunition without reloading. These are NOT weapons designed for hunting, nor for individual protection; they are designed for combat.

While there is naturally going to be a lot of focus on the suspect now that he has been identified, it would be irresponsible to only blame him as a disturbed individual but seek no change in our attitudes, policies and laws regarding guns and their availability to such individuals.

New Jersey is fortunate to have some of the strongest gun prevention laws in the nation, including a statewide ban on assault weapons. Tragedies like today's massacre remind us that it is crucial for every citizen to call on Congress and President Barack Obama to permanently reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was allowed to “sunset” in 2004 after being in effect for ten years.


 

"Lautenberg to Sponsor Bill Restricting Online Ammunition Sales"

Press_ConferenceNicola Bocour, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ, said: “Ceasefire NJ is honored to stand with Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman McCarthy in support of the ‘Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.’ The proposed legislation will help to prevent shootings such as the tragedy in Aurora and save lives by regulating online ammunition sales so that an individual will no longer be able to accumulate an arsenal of ammunition in such a short period of time without detection. Congress must take action against these heinous acts of gun violence and pass the ‘Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act’; the reality is if we don’t demand real and meaningful change about guns and ammunition it is easy to predict more such tragedies.”
[Read More]



Click Here
to Read Ceasefire NJ's Summer Newsletter!

NJ Senate Bill 608

Ceasefire NJ has taken a neutral stance on NJ Senate Bill 608 which would permit licensed dealers to display and auction firearms at fund raising events sponsored by certain tax exempt organizations.

Ceasefire NJ has no objection to the change in legislation allowing licensed dealers to display and auction firearms at fund raising events sponsored by certain tax exempt organizations, provided that all of the current laws regarding the buying, selling, and transportation of firearms remain in effect for all auctions and sales of firearms at such fund raising events. Ceasefire's stance will remain neutral only so long as any buyer of a firearm at any auction or sale must continue to undergo and pass the same background checks currently required of all firearms purchasers in NJ before completing the purchase, including the limitation to the purchase of no more than a single handgun in any thirty day period.

 


 

Food For Guns!

Mercer County is holding an event this Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Trenton Fire Department Headquarters (244 Perry Street) where individuals can turn in a gun in exchange for a $100 ShopRite giftcard -- NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  NO ID REQUIRED!  Ceasefire is thrilled to support an event to help get guns off the streets and will  be providing literature with valuable information on gun violence prevention.  Click here to see the flyer.


Remembering the Virginia Tech 32

On April 16, 2007, the lives of 32 people were senselessly taken in the Virginia Tech massacre, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.  Today, on the 5th anniversary of that tragic day, let us resolve to stop the spreading of guns and violence through our communities and campuses.  Please sign this petition to help keep guns off campus!

We keep in our hearts and prayers all those who have had their lives forever changed by gun violence.


Shoot Hoops, Not Guns!

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On Sunday, April 15, 2012 Ceasefire NJ attended Assemblyman Charles Mainor’s event ‘Shoot Hoops, Not Guns’ where 10 teams and over 30 people participated in a basketball tournament to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence.


Ceasefire Stands Against 'Kill-At-Will' Laws

In the wake of the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, it is important that we stand our ground together and stop the senseless gun violence that these laws protect.  Join us by signing the States United pledge to stand united to prevent gun violence and help prevent more innocent people from falling victim to gun-touting vigilantes!

The "Kill-At-Will" laws, presently in 24 states including FL, contain provisions that generally permit the use of deadly force in self-defense without imposing a duty to retreat when outside the home.  Ceasefire is proud to say that NJ does not have a 'Kill-At-Will' law; however, there is currently pending legislation in the U.S. Senate which would force 'concealed carry reciprocity' and make it so that all states that issue concealed carry licenses be required to recognize all licenses from other states, even where there are key differences in their licensing requirements.

In order to help keep you informed of the news surrounding this issue we will be posting links in this section that we believe are interesting and relevant to this discussion.  We also encourage you to follow @CeasefireNJ on twitter.

NEWS AND ARTICLES

NY Times Op-Ed: We Need to Talk About Guns by Andrew Rosenthal

Mayor Bloomberg: Washington Needs to Stop Cowering Before the Gun Lobby

ABC News:  President Clinton Hopes Trayvon Martin Case Leads to Reappraisal of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Huffington Post Blog:  NRA Pushed 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Across the Nation.

TIME Ideas:  The Neuroscience of What Makes People Trigger-Happy

 


The Rev. Robert Moore's Letter to the Editor on "Kill-At-Will" Laws

Dear Editor:

As we near Holy Thursday and Good Friday of Christian Holy Week, I’ve been reflecting on how Jesus handled the challenge as he, an innocent man of peace, was being arrested by an armed mob on Holy Thursday night. Peter pulled out his sword to defend Jesus with “justified force.” But Jesus reprimanded him, ordering him to “Put away your sword, for
those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

This was the ultimate test of a lifetime in which the one Christians call the Prince of Peace taught and lived out nonviolent peacemaking. Even as he was about to be arrested, tortured, and brutally crucified, Jesus refused to use armed force to defend himself, or have his supporters do so.

Yet today many who say they are followers of Jesus advocate the use of armed lethal force not only in self-defense, but also aggressively as in the case of Trayvon Martin in Florida. George Zimmerman went far beyond being a neighborhood watch volunteer, in which he would help be eyes and ears for law enforcement. Disregarding the police dispatcher, he pursued Trayvon and used his gun to kill him.

The Stand Your Ground law passed in Florida in 2005 has been cited as a major reason that Mr. Zimmerman hasn’t even been arrested. Yet such laws lead to vigilantism reminiscent of the old west. “Justifiable” homicides have tripled in Florida since passage of that law.

In fact, not only have such Stand Your Ground laws been passed in 24 states, but the NRA is hard at work promoting guns on campus, allowing more people to carry concealed handguns, and fighting reasonable restrictions that would help ensure that people with backgrounds of violence or severe mental illness can continue to get guns and perpetrate crimes such as those in recent years at Virginia Tech and in Tuscon.

Taking the NRA’s approach to its logical conclusion will lead to communities throughout America looking like the “Showdown at the OK Corral.” Arming more and more people—“living by the gun”—is leading our nation toward a gun violence nightmare.

I would suggest that those of us who take Jesus’ example and teachings seriously should be involved in resisting such expansion of gun “rights” which only leads to many more “dying by the gun”. We instead need to follow the nonviolent examples of Jesus and disciples like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and use the power of nonviolent peacemaking to make our nation and world more peaceful.

 


Ceasefire Joins Twitter!

Ceasefire NJ is excited to announce our new Twitter feed!  We will be sharing news, updates, articles, and statements on the issue of gun violence in our communities.  Please join us in our mission to prevent gun violence by following @CeasefireNJ on Twitter!


Ceasefire NJ Statement on the Shooting at Chardon High School

In the wake of the shooting at Chardon High School, Ceasefire NJ is thinking of everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.  We pray that the Chardon community finds peace and kindness in this time of mourning and healing.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence has created a website where you can share your thoughts and prayers for those whose lives have been forever changed by the shooting in Chardon.  Support the Chardon community by visiting:  http://rememberingchardon.com/

 


 

Welcome to Our New Project Director!

Nicola_Photo

Nicola Bocour Biography

Nicola Bocour is a member of the Ceasefire NJ Project Committee and has been an active member of the gun violence prevention community for over 10 years.

Her involvement began when she co-founded Students For A Safer Tomorrow (SFAST), the Montclair High School student association designed to advocate for common sense gun legislation and spread awareness of the devastating effects of gun violence.  Upon graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, in 2004, Nicola returned to SFAST as director and advisor, where she was able to triple membership and greatly increase the number of activities performed by the group.

In 2007, Nicola joined the staff of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) and created the student association reACTiON at a high school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  While at NYAGV, she was also a member of a three-person team conducting research and working to reduce gun violence in New York City neighborhoods with the highest prevalence of shootings.

In 2010, Nicola received her J.D. from Seton Hall Law School.  In addition to her work in the gun violence community, Nicola has completed legal internships in public interest at the Urban Justice Center and Lawyers for Children, both in New York.


01/08 Interfaith Vigil Against Gun Violence Receives Trenton Times Coverage

gun_violence_vigil

Majahne Williams, 14 years old, takes part in a candlelight vigil to highlight the need to combat gun violence. Majahne lost her mom, Natalie Williams to domestic violence involving a gun, in December 2000. The vigil was held inside Niles Chapel in Princeton.

Click Here to see the all of the Trenton Times photos from the Vigil.


Huge News! A Letter from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (11/10/11)

This is a huge moment. The Senate has announced that it will hold a hearing on the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 on Tuesday.

For the first time since the tragic shooting in Tucson, our leaders will discuss real solutions to the deadly flaws in our background check system -- and only because of relentless efforts of supporters like you.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is headed to Washington to testify on the urgent need to Fix Gun Checks, and he will hand deliver every petition we gather before the hearing.

Please watch the short video message from Mayor Bloomberg and ask your friends and family to add their names to our petition before he delivers it to Congress.

To make the biggest impact possible at the hearing, the Fix Gun Checks campaign is coming to Washington, D.C. -- joined by survivors of gun violence, their families, mayors and law enforcement officials.

More than 350,000 Americans -- including you -- have already added their names to the petition to Fix Gun Checks. Please share this video today and ask your friends and family to join you in urging Congress to fix our broken background check system:

http://www.FixGunChecks.org/MayorBloomberg

Together, we can send leaders in Washington an unforgettable message that we’re fed up with a system that allows 34 Americans to be murdered with guns every day.

Sincerely,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns


 

CFNJ's Press Release on Tuscon Rampage

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release                                                                              Contact: Bryan Miller
January 10, 2011                                                                                                    (856) 371-3038

 

TUCSON RAMPAGE SHOWS DANGER TO SOCIETY OF VOLATILE COMBINATION OF EXTREMISM WITH GUNS

 

Ceasefire NJ Calls on Faith Community to Step Up To Combat Dangerous Mix of Political Extremism, Guns and the Gun Lobby

 

Trenton: In the wake of the devastating shooting rampage of Saturday in Tucson, AZ, Ceasefire NJ, the Garden State’s leading organization devoted to reducing gun violence, expressed sadness at the predictable loss of life and damage to society, and called for citizens and the faith community to ‘step up’ and take the country from those who would use the deadly mix of guns and political extremism to endanger democracy, and innocent lives and sell guns.

The Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Coalition for Peace Action, of which Ceasefire NJ is a project, said: “We mourn for those needlessly lost, we pray for those wounded and recovering, we cry for the families whose lives have been changed forever.  And, we call on all Americans to see the frightening and dangerous conjunction of guns and political extremism to which this horrific event points so clearly.”

The Rev. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, NJ and member of Ceasefire NJ’s Steering Team, said: “I call on all faith communities to take courage to become advocates for the call of justice and righteousness to bring America into honest accountability of our social and political rights.  It is high time the faithful in this state and country said no to extremists and the gun industry and lobby.  We can no longer allow their thinking to dominate our need to have peace within our communities.  The people must change our public policies and mandates that govern for all.”

Bryan Miller, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ, said: “The massacre in Tucson shows clearly that we live in dangerous times in this country.  We have allowed a lobby whose main goal is to protect and encourage the sales and profits of the gun industry to dictate what is acceptable in law and practice – the result being that we tolerate incredible levels of gun violence.  Yet, when extremist are encouraged to use guns by irresponsible politicians and the leaders of the gun lobby, we are shocked.  No one should be, as extremist like Sarah Palin and NRA boss Wayne LaPierre have been using threatening words and images for years.  Now our country is reaping what they and others have sown.”

The Rev. Shannon Vance-Ocampo, Pastor of Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church in North Plainfield and member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, said: “The faith community must act to combat the insidious initiatives and motives of those who would encourage gun violence by allowing the gun lobby to hold the field.  I and many others of faith are eager to act to reduce the carnage.  We seek to bring the faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, Heeding God’s Call, to our state and nation.  Heeding has enjoyed success in Philadelphia in confronting the flow of guns to that city’s streets.  We believe Heeding can be a means for the faith community to take action to make all streets safer from gun violence (see www.heedinggodscall.org).”