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Sen. Menendez joins with Newark officials, community violence intervention leaders & gun safety advocates to call on ATF to implement rules to help close the background check loophole

Senator also highlighted the $250 million in grant funding for violence intervention programming unlocked by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

NEW JERSEY – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) joined Monday with Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Newark Community Street Team, police officials, and violence intervention volunteers at a press conference to urge the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to fully implement federal rules required by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to help close the gun seller background check loophole.

The BSCA—the first significant federal gun safety legislation in 30 years—was signed into law by President Biden on June 25, 2022.

The press conference comes on the heels of a shooting in Newark last week that took the life two individuals, including an eight-year-old child, and Saturday’s horrific mass shooting in Allen, Texas, and ahead of the somber one-year anniversary of the Buffalo supermarket shooting that killed 10 people on May 14, 2022 and the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 Texas fourth graders and two teachers on May 24, 2022.

The Senator led a bicameral letter calling on the ATF to implement federal rules required by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to help close the gun seller background check loophole

“Last June, we passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, creating federal penalties for straw purchasing and firearms trafficking, enhanced background checks for purchasers under 21 years of age, and barred individuals convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a gun,” Menendez said. “This landmark legislation also unlocked more than $250 million for community violence intervention programs well as funding for mental health, school safety and more; however, there is still more work to do, and I for one won’t stop fighting until Congress passes more comprehensive gun safety reforms.”

During the press conference, the Senator highlighted the $250 million in grant funding for violence intervention work unlocked by the landmark BSCA passed last June. This year’s deadline for the grant application is May 25, 2023. It also created funding for school safety and mental health resources.

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is already saving lives in New Jersey and across the country,” said Chelsea Parsons, Director of Implementation at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We are proud to stand with leaders like Senator Menendez and Mayor Baraka to ensure that this historic law is fully and completely implemented to save as many lives as possible.”

Sen. Menendez is a long-time champion for gun violence prevention and has taken numerous measures over his tenure to help address the epidemic of gun violence, including supporting the original Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 and authoring legislation to ban high-capacity magazines, which are designed for high capacity killing.

This year, Sen. Menendez joined several of his colleagues in forming the first Senate Gun Violence Prevention Caucus to coordinate common-sense solutions to battle the epidemic of gun violence in America. In February, the Senator led Senate colleagues in the reintroduction of the Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of high-capacity magazines. He also reintroduced the Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act, which would require the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect, preserve, and disclose gun records and gun tracing data. Sen. Menendez also joined several of his colleagues this year in reintroducing legislation to ban assault weapons, close the Charleston Loophole, and require gun owners secure their firearms in a secure gun storage.

In 2022, Sen. Menendez reintroduced the Federal Firearm Licensing Act that would require individuals to obtain a firearm license from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before purchasing or receiving a firearm. He also urged the Biden Administration to do more to address the ghost gun loophole based on legislation he has authored, which would prohibit the online distribution of blueprints and instructions that allow for the 3D printing of firearms. Also in 2021, Sen. Menendez, alongside 16 Senate Democrats and 99 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, urged the U.S. Department of Education in a letter to raise awareness about securely storing guns safely and away from kids following the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan.

In 2020, the Senator introduced the Untraceable Firearms Act to ban “ghost” guns, and in the same year introduced the Stop Online Fraudulent Sales of Firearms Act that would to prevent gun sellers from circumventing technology companies’ terms of service by making it illegal to fraudulently sell firearms and ammunition online.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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