Downey, Houghtaling Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Gun Violence Heads to Governor's Desk

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Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Shavonda Sumter, Daniel R. Benson and Pamela Lampitt to strengthen New Jersey's gun laws and protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence gained final legislative approval from the full Assembly on Thursday.

Among other provisions, the bill (A-4126) would:
- Require domestic abusers who have been convicted of a domestic violence offense to surrender their firearms and provide a receipt and affidavit to the prosecutor demonstrating that they have done so;
- Require a law enforcement officer to accompany an abuser who has become subject to a restraining order to the location of the abuser's firearms and take possession of the firearms, or if the abuser is prohibited from going to the location by restraining order, require the officer to seize the firearms;
- Require the application for a restraining order to allow the victim to list firearms owned by the abuser;
- Require any identification card and permit issued to an abuser to be immediately revoked and require the court to establish a process for notifying the appropriate authorities of the revocation;
- Enhance penalties for domestic violence offenses.

"Legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers will protect New Jersey residents," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "Establishing an orderly process for the surrender of firearms is a common-sense way to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals." 

"Gun owners who have committed an act of domestic violence have proven their intent to cause someone else harm," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "They should not thereafter have access to firearms."

The legislation has been applauded by Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control advocacy group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The bill, a previous version of which passed both houses of the legislature and was conditionally vetoed by the governor earlier this year, was approved 60-2-9 by the Assembly and now heads to the Governor's desk. 

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