New Jersey should require gun buyers to renew permits periodically and cede them after a criminal conviction, a panel created by Governor Chris Christie recommended.
The task force, formed in response to the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, released 50 proposals that will form the basis of legislation the first-term Republican governor will release within 10 days, Michael Drewniak, a spokesman, said in a statement. The recommendations also included mental-health evaluations as part of some firearms background checks.
“While New Jersey has some of the strictest gun and licensing laws in the nation which the governor supports, a wider view was necessary to not only evaluate gun control in the state, but to consider other elements that often intersect in instances of extreme gun violence,” Drewniak said.
The panel's recommendations followed an announcement in Washington today by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Pennylvania Republican, of a bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun purchasers. Christie, 50, who's seeking re-election in November, has said since the Newtown slaying of 20 children and six educators that he'd be willing to discuss stricter controls as part of a more comprehensive package that deals with mental health, substance abuse and violence in video games.
His task force studied New Jersey’s firearms laws as well as the roles played by drugs, mental stability and school safety. New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Maryland have tightened gun laws following the Newtown killings. President Barack Obama called for expanded federal limits on weapons after the crime, and the U.S. Senate scheduled a procedural vote tomorrow on arms legislation.