July 29, 2022

Watson Coleman Votes to Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban to Prevent Gun Violence for Safer Communities

Today, Rep. Watson Coleman voted for historic legislation that will reinstate the assault weapons ban, a key action to ensure safer communities for New Jerseyans by preventing gun violence and keeping weapons of war off our streets.

“Today, House Democrats took a bold step in the fight to end the gun violence epidemic by reinstating the assault weapons ban,” said Watson Coleman.  “From Buffalo, New York to Uvalde, Texas, children and families should never feel unsafe in their daily lives – in school, at the movies, at the grocery store or anywhere else.  Our men and women in law enforcement shouldn’t have to confront weapons designed for the battlefield here in our communities.  I am proud to have voted for legislation that will help keep weapons of war off our streets, ensure New Jerseyans are safe and lives are saved across our nation.”

From 1994 to 2004, while American families were protected by the assault weapons ban, there were 40 percent fewer gun crimes involving assault weapons.  But since the expiration of the ban in 2004, gun violence has been steadily on the rise.  In 2019 alone, nearly 14,000 United Americans were killed with a firearm, with nearly 300 mass shootings taking place over the last decade.  Taking action to reduce these numbers will not only protect our communities but support our law enforcement, who have been overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of gun crime and must face weapons designed for warfare while serving in our communities.

Similar to the 1994 ban, this legislation will prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines.  Additionally, it will require that semiautomatic assault weapons be stored securely and properly, a measure that will help keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of those not equipped to handle weapons.

“The ongoing gun violence epidemic left thousands of empty seats at kitchen tables across the nation, especially threatening our precious children,” said Watson Coleman.  “Voting to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban is our House Democratic Majority’s latest action to keep our children safe from gun violence, building on the enactment of our game-changing Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and House passage of our bold Protecting Our Kids Act.”

This bill is only one example of House Democrats’ ongoing efforts to increase public safety.  Earlier this year, the Congress was able to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the country’s first piece of major gun violence prevention legislation in nearly three decades.  Additionally, the House passed the Active Shooter Alert Act, legislation that establishes a program similar to the AMBER Alert system, allowing law enforcement to effectively and efficiently alert the public during a shooting.  Similarly, the Protecting Our Kids Act, legislation that would keep weapons of war out of the hands of teenagers and crack down on ghost guns, passed the House with overwhelming Democratic support earlier this year.  Gun safety and community security remain top priorities of the Democratic Party and House Democrats will continue to fight for these life-saving measures.