Passage of bill to childproof guns needs everyone’s support

Dear Editor: In New Jersey, our public schools often represent a safe haven for students growing up in dangerous neighborhoods. According to the Commissioner of Education’s annual report to the Legislature, our public schools are becoming even safer. This is evident by the 7 percent reduction in the number of incidents of violence, vandalism, weapons and substance abuse in New Jersey’s public schools in 1998-99. The number of incidents of firearms possession was down nearly 40 percent, from 84 to 54 incidents. While these numbers are encouraging, even one incident of firearms possession could become a tragedy. The images of Colombine and similar tragedies are seared into the hearts and minds of all those who care about children. A child in America is killed with a gun every two hours. That is why the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, representing more than 5,000 school principals, vice principals and supervisors throughout New Jersey, has been working closely with Senate President Donald DiFrancesco to fight for passage of the Gun Safety and Crimes Prosecution Legislative Package. The centerpiece of this legislative package is S-2045, a bill that requires all handguns sold in New Jersey be childproof within three years of the first time such a gun is sold in the United States. “Childproofing” a gun will ensure that the gun is personalized and can only be fired by its adult owner, and not by a child or someone who has stolen the gun. Other bills in the package include S-2046, which strengthens prosecution of firearms crimes, S-2047 which prohibits the sale of handguns to anyone under 21 and S-2048, which requires all handguns sold in New Jersey to be registered by the markings created when the gun is fired. Thanks to the Senate President’s leadership and overwhelming bipartisan support, all of these bills were passed by the Senate on May 18. The time has come for the Assembly to do its part, and pass this common sense legislative package. NJPSA urges the citizens of New Jersey to join with Senate President DiFrancesco in supporting this valuable legislation. JoAnn D. Bartoletti, Executive Director New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association


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