Dated: Sunday July 13, 2014
Gun violence, in all of its permutations, has now become a fact of life in our communities. It has become a relentless disease of pandemic proportions, decimating all in its path. Men, women and children; Black, White and Latino; young and old, have all fallen victims to this scourge upon law-abiding citizens and even their protectors, with death and injury from the unauthorized use of handguns becoming an all too familiar sight. And there is no doubt, according to the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence, that the State of New Jersey has some of the strongest gun laws in the country.
Yet it must also be considered as an axiom of fact that laws which are meant to protect but are left unenforced provide no specific or even general levels of the protection they are meant to give.
Such is the case in the matter of the New Jersey Attorney General’s non-compliance with the reporting mandates of the New Jersey Personalized Handgun Law (N.J.S. 2C:58-2.2 et seq.), passed by the New Jersey Legislature more than a decade ago. Enacted to take a bold step towards fostering the development of personalized handguns, the Attorney General’s failure to report on their availability and use merely adds to the levels of frustration and despair felt, both real and imagined, not only by those in the general community but by law enforcement personnel as well, as there can be no doubt that police officers will be among those who can most benefit from this legislation.
As an organization, individual members of the professional criminal justice community, and members of the community, we stand firmly with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March, Mercer County Chapter, in their concerted efforts to gain compliance by Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Jay Hoffman and his staff in following established state law by reporting on the availability and use of a technology which has promising potential to save lives by preventing the unauthorized use of handguns which result in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings, and is a solution that can prevent gun violence, thus making New Jersey residents and law enforcement personnel safer.
If, as noted by the New Jersey Legislature upon their approval of the Personalized Handgun Law, New Jersey’s commitment to firearms safety is to remain unrivaled throughout the nation, then it is both necessary and needful that the Attorney General comply with the full requirements of the law, and not just those which appear to be most politically convenient.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
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