TRENTON – In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy and other recent mass shootings, a Union County Democrat has introduced legislation intended to ensure the mental stability of anyone authorized to purchase a firearm in New Jersey.
“Newtown was a true eye opener for us,” said Assemblyman Joe Cryan. “Based on what we know about the alleged shooter at this point, mental health may have played a key factor in this tragedy. And this appears to be a common thread in many of the mass shootings we’ve seen in recent years. There’s been a significant outpouring of support from the public to make mental health screenings a part of the overall discussion on gun control. I think any legitimate effort to curb gun violence must include this important aspect.”
Specifically, the bill (A-3667) would require anyone applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun to pass a mental health screening administered by a medical doctor or licensed psychiatrist in New Jersey.
Under the bill, the mental health screening would be developed by the Superintendent of the State Police in consultation with the Commissioner of Human Services.
“If law enforcement officers are required to undergo psychological testing in order to carry a firearm and hold their position, why shouldn’t civilians as well? I think you would be hard pressed to find any mass shooting where mental illness did not play a factor. This is a common sense move that is long over due in my opinion,” added Cryan.
Cryan introduced the bill on Monday.