June 08, 2022

Rep. Watson Coleman Votes for Life-Saving Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) voted to protect communities and save lives with a strong legislative package to address gun violence.  The Protecting Our Kids Act includes common-sense gun safety measures that will crack down on illegal gun trafficking, keep weapons of war out of the hands of teenagers, strengthen safe gun storage, restrict access to untraceable “ghost guns” and more.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that gun violence is the leading killer of children in our nation,” said Watson Coleman.  “Like many of you, I’ve found the past several weeks to be terribly painful. The pain that comes with hearing the tragic stories of the victims of gun violence and their families, as well as the pain of watching politicians and others blame everything for these incidents except the proliferation of weapons of war.”

Gun violence in America is responsible for more than 45,000 deaths per year, including over 400 in New Jersey alone.  Every day, 30 Americans are murdered with a gun – a number that rises to more than 100 when counting suicides and accidental shootings.  In addition to this daily loss of life, gun violence continues to inflict a heavy financial burden – imposing $2.8 billion in emergency room and inpatient costs on Americans each year.

Last month, Americans were horrified by mass shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York – both carried out by 18-year-olds legally armed with semi-automatic assault rifles.  Just this past weekend, at least thirteen mass shootings terrorized more communities across the country.

The Protecting Our Kids Act takes key steps to address this crisis and safeguard New Jerseyans wellbeing.  This bold legislative package includes several measures, including:

  • The Raise the Age Act: raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic weapons to 21 years old.  Currently, someone could buy a semi-automatic rifle, the weapon of choice in many mass shootings, at just 18 years old – yet you must be 21 to buy a less lethal handgun.
  • The Prevent Gun Trafficking Act: cracking down on gun trafficking and straw purchases to get illegal guns off of our streets.
  • The Untraceable Firearms Act: subjecting ghost gun purchases to background check requirements.
  • The Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act: closing the bump stock loophole to ban these deadly tools from civilian use.
  • The Keep Americans Safe Act: outlawing high-capacity magazines, which are designed for killing en masse and have been the accessory of choice in the bloodiest mass shootings.
  • Strengthening safe storage requirements to protect children from accidental shootings.
  • Requiring an annual report of demographic data of those being determined to be ineligible to purchase guns.

The Protecting Our Kids Act builds on the House’s twice-passed legislation advancing universal background checks for all gun purchases, action that is supported by nearly nine in ten Americans.  Tomorrow, the House will vote on additional legislation establishing extreme risk protection orders, empowering courts to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others. 

“House Democrats have taken action again and again to curb gun violence,” continued Watson Coleman.  “The House has twice passed widely-popular legislation to secure universal background checks and close the Charleston Loophole.  Now, we will continue fighting to get additional life-saving legislation over the finish line.  The lives of our children are at stake, and I will not rest until the job is done.”