PATERSON - Rep. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) issued the following statement regarding today's passage in the New Jersey General Assembly of A-700, the Childproof Handgun Bill. Pascrell is the author of H.R. 693, the federal Childproof Handgun Act first introduced in teh House of Representatives in 1999, which was modeled after the measure introduced in the State of New Jersey.
"While no legislation will ever guarantee the end of gun related tragedies, today's vote in Trenton sends a clear mesasage that we cannot simply be silent and ignore measures that will help protect children from senseless gun violence.
Our government requires childproof caps on aspirin bottles, sets standards for childproof cigarette lighters and insists that chilldren riding in cars be buckled in approved car seats. Yet handguns, which kill thousands of kids a year, have been essentially off limits when it comes to safety improvements. That changed in New Jersey today, and I hope this will inspire my colleagues in Washington to make this a national priority.
Never again should a parent have to endure the loss of their child because that child picked up a handgun and was able to fire it intentionally or unintentionally. This bill moves us significantly closer to that day.
Nobody is advocating taking guns away from lawful owners. What we are advocating is saftey for our children. I applaud those who had the courage to look beyond the tired rhetoric and pass this landmark measure.
This bill is repsonsible and it is practical. While opponents argue that it is wrong to require technology that has not been perfected, many forget that the United States Department of Justice, in a 1996 study, found several childproofing technologies to be feasible and workable. Unfortunately, gun manufaturers have to date been unwilling to finalize development of this needed technology. This bill will help end the delays and demand progress.
Too often we have seen - in cities and suburbs alike --lives shattered by senseless, avoidable gun tragedies. It is time to get serious about this technology - and passage of this legislation will help make that happen.