Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
For Immediate Release: December 4, 2014
Contact: Mike Naple, mnaple [at] bradymail [dot] org
New Jersey Acting Attorney General issues first report since 2003 on the availability of personalized handguns in the United States.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After over ten years of New Jersey officials failing to follow New Jersey’s groundbreaking childproof handgun law, New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General finally issued a legally-required biannual report on the availability of “personalized” handguns for sale in the United States. The Acting Attorney General issued the report in response to a lawsuit filed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter. The lawsuit was filed to force the Acting Attorney General to issue the long-delayed report.
The childproof handgun law, N.J.S. 2C:58-2.3, requires the Attorney General to issue such a report twice a year, but none has been issued at least since 2003. On November 26, 2014, the Acting Attorney General filed his report pursuant to the law that requires him to issue a report every six months on the availability of personalized handguns, also known as “smart” handguns. Because the lawsuit has achieved its objective, the Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter will be voluntarily dismissing their suit.
“While it is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to force New Jersey officials to obey its own law, we are happy that as a result of our case the State has finally begun to implement this important, hard-fought public safety measure, which will lead to safer guns and fewer gun deaths and injuries,” said Jonathan Lowy, the Director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project. “It is now time for the corporate gun lobby to support bringing to market safer guns, which will save the lives of many children in New Jersey and elsewhere – including the children of many gun owners. One would hope the gun lobby would agree that safer guns and safer families are goals we should all strive for.”
“We are pleased that the Attorney General recognizes his legal responsibility to issue a report on the status of personalized handguns in the marketplace and we look forward to the Attorney General delivering timely reports in the future as well,” said Gregory G. Little, of White & Case LLP, counsel with the Brady Center.
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. This technology is important because sixty percent of all child and teen gun deaths happen in a home; when we look at children ages 10 to 14, eighty-two percent of deaths take place in a home.
In 2002, New Jersey passed a law to protect innocent children from gun violence. The Brady Campaign and Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter filed a lawsuit on May 19, 2014, requesting that the Court order the Acting Attorney General to comply with reporting requirements of that law. The Attorney General litigated the case for over six months, including removing the case to the Appellate Division, before issuing the report that is required by law.
“The Brady Campaign’s Million Mom March Mercer County Chapter 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. We are pleased that the law is no longer being ignored and look forward to working with the Acting Attorney General as he prepares for his next report, which is due in May of 2015.”
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. This lawsuit showed that, for the past ten 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.
A copy of the just-issued report is now available. The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey Mercer County, Law Division and was transferred to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. The plaintiffs were represented by Gregory G. Little and Elzbieta Matthews of White & Case LLP; Jonathan E. Lowy, Elizabeth M. Burke and Robert B. Wilcox, Jr. of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; and Bruce W. Clark and Christopher J. Michie of Clark Michie LLP.
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 us on Facebook at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Twitter @Bradybuzz.