As a mother of four, my heart breaks for the families across this nation whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence. As a former member of the U.S. Navy, I’m horrified by the use of weaponry that belongs on the battlefield. As a former prosecutor, I saw the devastating impact that gun violence has had on communities throughout our state and worked with law enforcement to get illegal guns off our streets.
We must make our streets, schools, and houses of worship safer through responsible gun ownership and by keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of violent criminals, domestic abusers, and terrorists.
With this in mind, and from my first day in office, I’ve worked to find responsible solutions to America’s gun violence crisis. I qualified as an expert in the M-16, Colt .45, and 9mm Beretta in the United States Navy. I understand and hold dear the rights granted to us under our Constitution. So the first bill I supported was a bipartisan background checks bill, and I was proud to cast my vote for this common sense gun safety measure again during my second term.
After decades of inaction and with bipartisan support, we passed and signed into law the first comprehensive gun safety package in three decades. It includes common sense provisions to enhance background checks, close the boyfriend loophole, invest in mental health resources, help implement extreme risk protection orders, and support community safety. All measures proven to help reduce gun violence.
New Jersey is a model for how gun safety laws can keep residents safe. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, while gun deaths have risen nationally by 35 percent over the last decade, in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, gun deaths went down by 10 percent. While this is good news for New Jerseyans, our public safety remains threatened by weaker gun laws in neighboring states. That is why I am fighting for further protections at the national level.
I’ve passed additional measures in the House to close the Charleston Loophole and to ban bump stocks that allow individuals to convert firearms into fully automatic weapons. I also support measures to close the hate crimes loophole.
While New Jersey has led the way with an assault weapons ban and large capacity magazine limits, it is still possible for a criminal to purchase these deadly weapons across state lines. For this reason, I have also voted to ban assault weapons for civilian use and limit large-capacity magazines. Time and again, assault weapons are used in our nation’s most tragic mass shooting events. I know firsthand the power and responsibility of these weapons and they are designed with one thing in mind — to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. They threaten the lives of our children, our neighbors, and our law enforcement and they do not belong on our streets.