TRENTON - Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver today called President Obama’s proposed assault weapons ban a common-sense approach in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.
“I am hopeful Congress will do what’s right and approve this package. We’ve mourned far too often to stand idle at this moment in history,” she said in a release.
Obama also called for improved background checks on gun buyers and other measures, and Oliver said that in New Jersey, state lawmakers will not be idle.
“The Assembly is developing measures to curb gun violence and improve mental health services here in New Jersey, and will soon move forward with a plan. Many Assembly members have put forth outstanding ideas to tackle gun violence and mental health services, and we’ll be advancing a strong package to make our state a safer place,” she said.
However, Oliver also had criticism for the administration.
“But we also have to enforce what’s already on the books, and that includes the Christie administration and its abject failure to fully implement the involuntary outpatient mental health treatment law I sponsored,” Oliver said. “Gov. Christie cannot call for a focus on mental health while simultaneously ignoring this law. This is a time for action, not double-speak.”
Christie has called for what he termed “violence’’ control as opposed to merely “gun’’ control, and said there needs to be a comprehensive effort that includes looking at mental health and educational matters.
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald also praised the proposal.
“This is a thoughtful proposal that respects Second Amendment rights while addressing the critical factors that lead to gun violence – assault weapons with high capacity ammunition, criminal background checks and mental health assistance,” he said in a release.
“Gun violence transcends political parties, race, geography and socio-economic backgrounds. The only way we can take back our communities and curb this epidemic once and for all is to do it together.”
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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