March 16, 2018

By NJG Press Releases, March 16 2018 11:24 am

Bills concern those convicted of animal cruelty, safe storage of firearms, and seizure of firearms from those considered a threat.


TRENTON – Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey introduced three pieces of legislation to better regulate firearms in response to the tragic Parkland, Florida, shooting that claimed 17 innocent lives and the subsequent national outcry for more comprehensive gun laws.

The three-part bill package includes a bill that prohibits an individual who has been convicted of animal cruelty from possession or purchasing a firearm; a bill requiring the safe storage of a firearm and establishing penalties for improper firearm storage; and a bill which establishes a process by which a family or household member, law enforcement agency, or an employee of a high school or institution of higher education may petition a court to have a person’s firearms temporarily seized upon finding that the person poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others.


“In the days following the tragic shooting in Parkland, citizens have demanded increased gun regulations. We have heard their cries and we are acting. These common sense regulations are the first step towards addressing this country’s issue of gun violence,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.


“The FBI sees animal cruelty as a predictor of violence against people and considers past animal abuse when profiling serial criminals. In assessing youth at risk of becoming violent, the U.S. Department of Justice stresses a history of animal abuse. We cannot willfully turn a blind eye to these glaring indicators of violence. If an individual has proven their propensity for violence, there is no logical reason that person should be allowed to obtain a weapon and broaden the scope of their attacks,” said Assemblywoman Downey.


“Responsible New Jersey gun owners understand and embrace gun safety. If a firearm is not in use, it should be locked up to prevent children who may not know any better or individuals with malintent from accessing that weapon. This common sense piece of legislation can go a long way in not only protecting our communities, but protecting gun owners and their families as well,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.


“Without question, the Parkland shooter — a deeply disturbed young man — should not have had the ability to access an assault rifle. School officials and students were aware his violent behavior, as were local police and the FBI. However, through various institutional failures, this individual was still able to purchase a weapon. We must empower those closest to individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others to speak up and implement a system whereby those well meaning citizens may petition a court to remove that individual’s weapons. In doing so, we hope to prevent future mass shootings and violent attacks,” said Assemblywoman Downey.



Contact Matthew Anderson (732) 695-3371


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