NJ Senators Respond To Newtown With Legislation [AUDIO]
The world is still reeling and will be for a long time in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Today, at the New Jersey State House in Trenton, State Senators Ray Lesniak and Shirley Turner will formally introduce a bill to address the issue of violence in New Jersey.
The measure would declare violence a public health crisis in New Jersey, opening up the possibility of using funds from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the crisis and it would recommend the expansion of the use of involuntary out-treatment commitments and mental health courts to treat mental health issues before they erupt into violence and divert mentally ill offenders to court-mandated treatment.
Lesniak says, "We cannot simply accept the status quo any longer when children are being gunned down in classrooms in Connecticut or on the streets in urban New Jersey. It's time that we get serious about reducing violence and protecting the innocent from becoming victims."
The legislation would also recommend federal adoption of gun control measures and would establish a Study Commission on Violence to make policy recommendations to reduce violence in the Garden State.
Turner explains, "This is a multi-faceted approach to violence in our society and here in the State of New Jersey."
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama wants concrete proposals to stem further gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the effort to find recommendations by a January deadline. The president calls last Friday's massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newtown "a wake-up call for all of us."
"The tragedy in Newtown may very well be the tipping point in America for addressing the scourge of gun violence. As more and more Americans step up to say that our gun laws are broken, President Obama is right that 'words need to lead to action,'" says U.S. Frank Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ). "Vice President Joe Biden is a long-time advocate for gun safety reform, and we worked closely on these issues when he was in the Senate."
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) says, "Schools should be safe havens in our communities, not a place where a parent should fear for the safety of their child. But words are no longer enough to console the grieving families. We must take immediate action to stop senseless gun violence from continuing to tear our communities apart."