VIDEO: Guns and Mental Health BillPosted:
GLASSBORO - Back in June, the New Jersey State Legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring law enforcement to be informed when a potential gun buyer seeks to expunge mental health records.
Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed legislation that would require law enforcement to be notified when a prospective gun-buyer applies to erase their mental health records from their background check.
The veto has caused a debate both in the state legislature, as well as in local gun shops.
“I think that mental health is something that they have to get involved in this checkup so we can find out if this person does have a mental health problem that could cause problems, I think that would stop the sale,” said Robert Viden, Owner of Bob's Little Sports Shop. “I don’t know if I agree with all the systems, but I believe that the system of instant check works because I don’t want to sell a gun to a convicted criminal.”
Viden's sport shop is in Glassboro. He says that although he’s glad the Governor vetoed a bill that could hurt a gun owner, he believes the system set in place to purchase a gun in New Jersey is extremely reliable. Despite the background checks, Senate President Steve Sweeney still has plans to convince a majority of senators to vote to override the bill.
"To buy a gun in New Jersey, you must first get a firearms identification card," said Steve Sweeney, Senate President. "That means getting fingerprinted and a background check run through the state and federal government and then you’re issued a card. In order to get a handgun, you have to get a separate handgun permit for each handgun. That permit can take in some cases, people have waited up to seven to ten months to get the permits and we think that’s a little ridiculous. The smallest thing comes up. So, I mean, I think we have a very good system working right now.”
Democratic state lawmakers are fighting to override governor Christie's veto and the results of that vote on Thursday, October 22nd may either help or harm local gun shop businesses like this one.
"Well I think some records can be cleared, and then you should be able to buy a gun or any other thing. I mean, there’s certain aspects of gun laws that some people want to carry too far," said Viden. "We have a second amendment in this country. And I believe in the second amendment. I also believe in the first amendment.”
In a Princeton press conference Monday, October 12th, Sweeny said he plans to use procedural authority to require all senators to vote on this override on Thursday, October 22nd.
That could mean state police would retrieve any lawmakers who try to skip the vote.
If the override succeeds, it would be a first for the democrat-heavy legislature during Christie’s two terms.
SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source based in Millville, New Jersey that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.