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(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Wednesday approved a two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Troy Singleton, Joseph Cryan, Jason O'Donnell, Annette Quijano, Charles Mainor and John McKeon to tighten mental health oversight for gun owners.
The measures were approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee during a special hearing as part of the comprehensive Assembly Democratic anti-gun violence initiative, which is comprised of more than two dozen bills.
The first bill (A-3717), sponsored by Lampitt and Singleton, would make it mandatory for the state to submit certain mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
"A crucial mental health reporting failure is what allowed the Virginia Tech shooter to purchase weapons despite being adjudicated mentally ill. Clearly, there needs to be greater coordination in incorporating mental health records into the background check process," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "The NICS relies on states to submit this information. If states fail to do so, the database will have incomplete or inaccurate records, allowing some individuals to purchase guns who should be prohibited. The goal of this legislation is to avoid that at all costs."
NJ Assembly Majority Office
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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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