New Jersey State Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10) has called on Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) to take action to pass a common-sense gun reform that would protect children and the public from both planned and accidental tragedies that result from children having easy access to firearms.
Holzapfel is the sponsor of legislation (S-2729) which would increase criminal penalties for those who leave a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor resulting in injury or death. A version of this measure was included in a much larger bill (S-2723) sponsored by Sweeney that received a conditional veto from Governor Christie.
"Keeping loaded firearms out of the hands of unsupervised minors is something that everyone agrees we need to do," said Holzapfel. "By jamming this common-sense reform into a huge gun control bill with many controversial elements, the Senate President has decreased the odds that our efforts to prevent unnecessary tragedies will be enacted."
A bill that has been conditionally vetoed by the Governor is returned to the Legislature with changes that the Legislature must approve for the bill to be enacted. The section of Sweeney's S-2723 that would increase the penalties for leaving a loaded firearm within easy access of minor resulting in injury or death was left unaltered by the Governor.
In his conditional veto message for S-2723, Governor Christie notes: "Responsibility has always been the hallmark of our Second Amendment guarantees. Those who carelessly abuse that right and endanger our children’s lives should absolutely be subject to the penalties of criminal law."
"It's clear that both the Legislature and the Governor support this reform, so there's no reason to delay legislative action," added Holzapfel. "I'm not interested in taking credit, so I don't care if it's my bill or the Senate President's with the Governor's changes that we work to approve. We've seen too many senseless tragedies across the country, including here in Toms River, for us to fail to act on something that everyone agrees we must do."