Following Last Week’s Tragic Gun Violence at a Texas School, NJ Democratic State Committee Chairman Criticizes GOP For Blocking Gun Reform Legislation

 New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. issued the following newsletter after the tragic school shooting in Texas last week which claimed the lives of innocent children and school officials:

I am deeply saddened to have to be writing to you again in the midst of another national tragedy in which we’ve seen innocent civilians, this time children, gunned down in another preventable mass shooting. Studies keep telling us that stronger gun laws mean fewer gun deaths, but despite this common sense knowledge, the Republican party has consistently held up progress on the local, state, and national level in favor of NRA sponsored re-election campaigns. Even in New Jersey, the Republican party continues to try to find ways to chip away at our strong gun violence prevention measures. 

You can read my full statement on GOP obstruction to common sense gun legislation here. 

We can’t allow ourselves to become numb to gun violence. Sometimes after tragedies like this, we fall into a pattern of grief and outrage that eventually loses its energy. But we cannot become complacent. This last month has been exhausting for everyone who cares about the future of New Jersey and this country. From attacks on women’s health care rights to a national shortage of baby formula to repeatedly refusing to come together to pass gun legislation that just makes sense – lives are on the line. We desperately need to elect more Democratic candidates at all levels of our government so that they can continue fighting for our basic rights. And we need your support to get them elected. 

What can you do?  First, you can volunteer with a congressional campaign. New Jersey has four targeted races this year that can decide the fate of the House of Representatives. Volunteer to canvass and help us re-elect our entire delegation and keep the House in Democratic hands. 

What else can you do? Sign up for a vote-by-mail ballot to vote in the June primary.  We need a show of strength in June. It’s not just about winning – it’s about showing the Republican party and the nation that we are organized, motivated, and doing everything we can to stop them from taking our country into a future without reproductive rights or voting rights, and with more gun violence.   

A reminder that the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Tuesday, May 31. 

Click here for more voter resource information about Voting by Mail and Tracking your Ballot. 

On Wednesday, Governor Murphy proved that he is ready to, once again, take concrete action by passing a third installment of comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation. The Gun Safety 3.0 package includes common sense laws like: 

  • Mandating safe storage of guns; 
  • Ensuring those seeking to buy a gun are actually trained in the safe handling of that gun; 
  • Giving police tools to better track the paths of firearms used to commit crimes; 
  • Prohibiting the sale of weapons that can bring down helicopters; 
  • Allowing us to hold the gun industry liable for the carnage it has enabled. 

The Governor took his call one step further by requesting that we also put up “every bill seeking to unravel our gun laws” so that every politician in New Jersey must publicly put on the record where they stand on gun violence prevention. He wants all of New Jersey to know where each of them stands on the issue of allowing gun violence to continue at rates unseen in any other comparable country.    

I stand by Governor Murphy and his call for every member of our Legislature to publicly state their commitment to gun violence prevention.  Patting yourself on the back for offering thoughts and prayers time and time again is not enough. Legislators who refuse to be on the side of safety and progress will need to look straight into the faces of those of us in New Jersey who will hold them accountable for their callous disregard of our lives. 

As Chairman of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, Bill Pascrell never backs down from a fight. Every single day Congressman Pascrell is eager to take on the powerful on behalf of our New Jersey families. A champion for tax fairness, Bill has legislation to close gaping tax loopholes, demanding the wealthiest pay their fair share. And he prioritizes restoring the federal state and local tax deduction so important to our state.  

Bill helped pass the historic American Rescue Plan and the investments in the Biden infrastructure law that are transforming Garden State highway, bridge and transit systems. And no one is more vociferous than Bill in defending democracy against rising Republican autocracy. Bill aggressively seeks to expose corruption and hold Trump and his cronies accountable for their crimes. 

Get involved on his campaign here: 

Wednesday was the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death and President Biden signed an Executive Order to enact historic federal level police reform. The order: 

  • Promotes accountability by creating a new national law enforcement accountability database, strengthening pattern and practice investigations, and mandating all federal agents wear and activate body cameras while on patrol. 
  • Raises standards by banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock entries, and tightening use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation and the duty to intervene. 
  • Modernizes policing with new tools to screen and vet officers. 

These are steps that have been long discussed as effective ways to improve officer accountability and public safety.  Republicans in Congress have repeatedly resisted enacting these measures, and their  failure to join with Democrats here and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was a catalyst for this important executive order. 

I am hopeful that these reforms will begin to strengthen community trust and firmly show that we will not accept the staggering number of U.S. police killings of unarmed Black and Latino members of our community. 

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.