May 19, 2014 Contact: Jen Fuson 202-370-8128 firstname.lastname@example.org
Like Seatbelts and Airbags, NJ’s Personalized Handgun Law Will Save Lives, Prevent Unintentional Shootings, Suicides and Thefts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter of the Brady Campaign are filing a lawsuit to force New Jersey to comply with the New Jersey Personalized Handgun Law passed in 2002. The law requires the Attorney General to issue a report every six months on the availability of personalized handguns, also known as “smart” handguns. No reports have been issued since 2003. The law further requires only “smart” handguns to be sold in New Jersey within three years after these firearms are found to be available in the United States.
Personalized handguns use technology that restricts the firing of a gun to only authorized users, preventing children or criminals from being able to shoot without proper access.
“New Jersey confronted the problem of unintentional shootings, suicides, and gun theft and chose to require safer handguns when they became available,” said Jonathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project. “For over a decade, New Jersey has failed to obey the ‘smart gun’ law. We are asking the Court to force the acting Attorney General to obey the law and report on the availability of ‘smart’ handguns.”
“As far as we are aware, the acting Attorney General has not complied with the requirements of the New Jersey Personalized Handgun Law,” said Gregory G. Little of White & Case LLP, counsel with the Brady Center. “The enforcement of the statute will save lives by greatly reducing gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings.”
The ramifications for enforcing the New Jersey law have become part of a growing national debate. In recent months, California and Maryland firearm dealers announced that they would both sell “smart guns” manufactured by Armatix. The offer was later rescinded due to death threats and pressure from gun extremists.
“The Brady Campaign’s New Jersey Million Mom March Chapters and many other concerned New Jerseyans fought long and hard to enact this groundbreaking law to protect families in New Jersey from senseless gun violence,” said Carole Stiller, president of the New Jersey Million Mom March Chapters and president of the Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter. “We fought for this law because we would not tolerate children dying because the gun industry refused to make guns safer. This law will save lives, and we will not tolerate this law being ignored.”
Prior to filing this complaint, the Brady Campaign and its New Jersey Million Mom March Chapters contacted the Attorney General’s Office several times seeking information and to urge compliance with the law. The information received from the Attorney General’s Office showed that for the past 10 years the state has failed to comply with the reporting requirement of the statute. No report has been delivered since 2003, and that 2003 report has not been located or shared by the Attorney General’s Office.
“New Jersey recognized handguns should adapt with the latest safety technology available in the marketplace. Much like seatbelts and airbags save lives, so too will technology that helps to prevent a child or thief from being able to mistakenly fire a gun,” added Lowy. “This lawsuit hopes to ensure the voice of New Jerseyans is enforced.”
The lawsuit is being filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey Mercer County, Law Division and was prepared by Gregory G. Little, Elizabeth Cochran and Elzbieta Matthews of White & Case LLP; Jonathan Lowy, Elizabeth Burke and Robert Wilcox of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; and Bruce W. Clark and Christopher J. Michie of Clark Michie LLP.
A copy of the complaint and the letters sent to New Jersey’s Attorney General are available online:
The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow our Facebook Page and Twitter Account.