New Jersey Court Win will Make Kids and Families Safer | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

New Jersey Court Win will Make Kids and Families Safer

By Jon Lowy
Legal Action Project

Imagine: A five year old boy takes his father’s gun out of the bedside table. Thinking it’s unloaded, he sneaks up on his baby sister, points, pulls the trigger and . . .

The gun doesn’t fire.

Imagine a future in which no child is killed with a parent’s gun.

Pushing for safe storage of guns through Brady’s ASK Campaign and other public education is a key part to realizing this dream. And so is making guns more safe.

If guns were regulated like every other consumer product in America – or if the gun industry cared enough to make its products safer – today “smart” or “childproof” guns would almost certainly be on the market, and probably be the industry standard.

But the gun lobby’s lap dogs in Congress decided to specially exempt guns from product safety regulation that governs every other consumer product, from teddy bears to BB guns . . . and the gun industry stifles safety innovations . . . so guns are decades behind in safety technology. And every day, children and adults are shot as a result.

One promising means to bring safer guns to market is a landmark law that a handful of trailblazing New Jersey moms fought for and got enacted 12 years ago. New Jersey’s childproof handgun law, N.J.S. 2C:58-2.2-6, requires the Attorney General to issue a report twice a year on the availability of “personalized” handguns (guns that can only be fired by authorized or recognized users). If it is found that such a gun is market-ready, it becomes the mandatory standard within three years.

Unfortunately, New Jersey officials ignored their legal reporting obligations for over 10 years. That’s why the moms that pushed for the law – Brady Campaign and Million Mom March chapters – brought a lawsuit to force New Jersey’s Attorney General to obey the law.

And we won.

Led by an extraordinary legal team headed by Gregory Little and a team from White & Case in New York, with help from the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and New Jersey attorneys Bruce Clark and Christopher Michie, our lawsuit led the state Attorney General to finally issue a report. And although he concluded that currently available personalized guns did not meet New Jersey’s statutory standard, the report was a crucial first step to making safer guns a reality.

And that will help us realize a future in which no child is killed with a parent’s gun.