Click play for audio version of this story
A vote by Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) against a bill to ban large capacity magazines like the one used by a mass shooter in Dayton, Ohio last weekend has become an issue in his re-election campaign.
Democratic challengers Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman have spent months making gun safety a top issue in their campaign to unseat Bramnick and Minority Whip Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) in the politically competitive 21st district this fall.
Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman are criticizing Bramnick for being one of the legislators to vote against a bill that reduces the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds – and for Munoz’s decision to abstain on the bill.
“Our NRA A-Rated opponents have shown time and again that they refuse to support even the most basic common sense gun safety laws,” said Mandelblatt and Gunderman. “Jon Bramnick voted against a law banning large capacity magazines like the one used by the Dayton shooter last weekend to gun down 9 people in 32 seconds. And No Show Nancy didn’t even have the courage to cast a vote on the measure. We don’t need members of the Assembly who cower to the gun lobby or avoid taking a stance.”
The legislation to ban large capacity magazines passed was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on June 13
The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs filed suit in federal court to block the new law but were unsuccessful.
Six days after Murphy signed the bill, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a lawsuit against a firearms retailer from Nevada alleging that high-capacity magazines were sold to an undercover investigator.
Mandelblatt and Gunderman have received a Gun Sense Candidate Distinction from one of the top gun safety advocacy groups, Moms Demand Action.
The localization of national political issues hit home in June when Westfield police arrested a man in a parking lot of a local elementary school holding a .45-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets.
Bramnick, who earned a 100% rating from the National Rifle Association, has not yet commented on the incident that sent shockwaves through his hometown, and did not attend a gun safety event led by Murphy in Westfield days later.
Correction: Bramnick voted for the final version of of the bill, although he voted against it in previous votes.
Editor’s Note: a story that appeared on the New Jersey Globe site earlier today said that Bramnick voted against A-2761 when it returned to the Assembly for final passage on June 3, 2019. That was incorrect. In confirming the accuracy of statements made in a press release issued by the Mandelblatt-Gunderman campaign, the Globe looked at the vote on the March 26, 2018 for final passage and not the roll call for the concurrence with the Senate amendments. Bramnick voted against the measure in March and for it in May. The accuracy of representing a legislator’s vote is important, and we apologize for the error. – DW