By Dari Kotzker
Senators Ray Lesniak (D-20) and Shirley Turner (D-15) are taking legislative action after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. They’re sponsoring a new bill that will declare violence as a public health crisis in New Jersey. This move will allow funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private foundations to fund the initiatives.
“We all have to work together every day now to just attack this disease of violence in general. And this is our step. The call to action was from President Obama the other day and this is our first step in fulfilling that call,” said Lesniak.
The measure recommends the expansion of the use of involuntary out-treatment commitments and mental health courts to treat mental health issues before they erupt into violence and divert mentally ill offenders to court-mandated treatment. It also recommends the federal adoption of gun control measures and creates a study commission on violence to make policy recommendations to reduce violence in the state.
“We need law enforcement getting guns out of the hands of these homes as well as the streets, the criminals, and not having children gain access to firearms,” said Turner.
Lesniak plans to introduce this legislation tomorrow.