Click here to see a web page of the July 14, 2014 Urgent Alert responding to Gov. Christie's veto of the 10 bullet limit on ammunition magazines. Also see the Alert pasted below.
Act NOW to strongly oppose Gov. Christie's veto of the bill for a 10 bullet gun magazine limit! Both houses of the NJ legislature approved this common sense measure to reduce the death and destruction of mass shootings by forcing shooters to re-load more often. We must not let this go by without expressing our strong democratic dissent!
Ceasefire NJ spearheaded passage of New Jersey's Childproof, or "smart gun" legislation in 2002. To be implemented, such a gun had to become commercially available. See the May 9, 2014 Washington Post Editorial below advocating its implementation now.
MORE THAN a decade ago, New Jersey mandated that handgun merchants switch to selling personalized “smart” handguns once the technology became viable. The effort to make firearms safer for gun owners and their families now has provoked a nasty and dangerous crusade to keep the guns off the market.
The latest victim of this campaign of intimidation is Andy Raymond, co-owner of Engage Armament, a Rockville gun store specializing in custom assault rifles. No gun control advocate, Mr. Raymond decided to carry the Armatix iP1, a handgun that requires its handler to wear a matching watch for it to work, to provide his potential customers a wide choice of firearms. Instead of sales revenue, however, he got death threats from gun nuts who do not want to see the New Jersey law come into effect. If no one in the country sells the iP1, the law will remain dormant. As did the owner of a Los Angeles-area gun store who was also set to carry the smart gun, Mr. Raymond gave in, deciding not to sell the product. When The Post asked him if he would ever carry the iP1 under different circumstances, he replied, “I just can’t.”
New Jersey’s lawmakers are thinking about lifting the mandate , with the idea that doing so would blunt the opposition that has cohered around smart guns and ease their entry into the market. Once more consumers know about, experience and trust the technology, the thinking goes, more of them will choose products with simple electronic safeguards against unauthorized use. The number of suicides, accidents and other tragedies, which kill thousands every year, would drop.
The more smart guns that take the place of old, unsafe and outdated firearms the better. Because there is no technological reason that smart guns aren’t already available for sale, New Jersey lawmakers should try to deem the mandate already enforceable. Doing so would take the pressure off individual stores interested in carrying the smart-gun products, and it would promote the rapid introduction of the technology into a big state.
The government has a long record of mandating basic safety controls on dangerous products, as with seat belts and air bags in cars, often in the face of overblown warnings about their drawbacks. Applying this logic to guns does not insult the Second Amendment or gun owners; it minimizes the dangers associated with an armed populace. The gun lobby would like to treat those dangers and the deaths that result as inevitable or unworthy of serious response. They are neither.
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:
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.
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.
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]
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.
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]
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]
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2013
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.
By Chris Ziegler Times of Trenton guest opinion column January 2, 2013
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]
DECEMBER 20, 2012IN PLANET PRINCETON
The 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]
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]
By Minhaj Hassan | September 4th, 2012 - 1:02pm
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.