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Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Oliver signs gun violence hospital intervention bills

Signing comes in the wake of weekend shootings that left at least 30 dead

By Nikita Biryukov, August 05 2019 5:01 pm

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Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver signed three gun violence bills into law Monday after a weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio left at least 30 dead and dozens more injured.

On Sunday, a masked gunman wielding a rifle fitted with a 100-round gun magazine opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and injuring at least 27 others.

A day earlier, a 21-year-old gunman killed at least 21 people in an El Paso, Texas, shopping center. Authorities said 26 others were injured.

Investigators believe the El Paso gunman posted a white-supremacist manifesto on 8chan, an online message board, before carrying out the massacre.

“We cannot continue to be the only advanced country on this planet where such acts of domestic terrorism not only happen so regularly yet elicit so little action from our national leaders beyond their muffled thoughts and prayers,” Oliver said.

The bills establish and support a hospital-based intervention system that seeks to lower recidivism of gun violence, particularly in a number of New Jersey’s larger cities, including Newark, Patterson, Camden and Trenton.

The programs aim to reduce retaliation and re-victimization among gun violence victims.

A pilot program at Newark’s University Hospital saw gun violence recidivism rates drop between 300% and 400% as a result of hospital interventions.

“We know from statistical evidence — and the data does not lie — that a victim of violence is far more likely to be a victim as well or to become a violent perpetrator themselves,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said. “But if we have access and the resources to, in real-time … to let this individual know that hope is not lost, that opportunity exists, that there are people out there who are available and willing to help them, that they can understand that this is not through the fault of their own but that they can actually be a vehicle of change.”

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