Mayor Healy on Gun Control
Update 3/28/13 - Mayor Healy Issues Statement On Illegal Guns And Today's National Day To Demand Action
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, a founding member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s national gun control advocacy group – Mayors Against Illegal Guns – is calling on Congress today, March 28th, to reform gun laws on what the organization is calling its National Day to Demand Action.
“We have been asking for a federal cure for this federal plague of gun violence for years, and in the wake of the recent slew of gun massacres in our schools, places of worship, theaters and at public events, we know the time to act is now,” said Mayor Healy. “I stand with all of the members of Mayors Against Illegal guns, with the mothers and other family members who have lost children and loved ones, and ask Congress to take action on the measures that President Obama has set forth.”
Measures we support include the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, background checks for all gun purchases to close the gun show loophole, and a ban on high capacity magazines.
As a former judge, Mayor Jerramiah Healy is well aware and respectful of the 2nd Amendment rights of lawful gun owners. However, as a Mayor and former prosecutor, he is equally aware of the tragic consequences that result from the influx of illegal guns into our city.
To combat this problem, Mayor Healy has pursued a number of initiatives to limit the supply of illegal guns and to better equip local law enforcement with the information it needs to fight this scourge, including a gun buyback program funded through private donations, the city’s first anti-gang unit, and through advocating for local and statewide legislation that would prevent straw purchasers from buying guns for criminals.
In 2005, Mayor Healy instituted Operation Lifesaver, a gun buy back program in conjunction with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Jersey City Police Department, Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson, and leaders of the religious com- munity. The program, which was funded by private donations and at no cost to the taxpayer, took place on three consecutive weekends in seven loca- tions. For each surrendered handgun, rifle, or shot- gun, participants received a $150 cash reward. For each surrendered automatic weapon, participants received $250. Weapons were accepted anony- mously and quickly, with no questions asked by police personnel. The program removed a total of 897 potentially dangerous guns from our streets.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Update 1/11/2011 - Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined by founding co-member Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy and more than a dozen other mayors and officials from across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania today as they all outlined steps to help prevent another shooting tragedy like the one that occurred in Tucson, Arizona last weekend. The common-sense steps would go a long way toward helping keep guns out of the hand of criminals, the mentally ill and other dangerous persons.
Among those also present in the Blue Room of Manhattan’s City Hall were the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Congressman Peter King (R-NY), Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse, New York; Mayor Patricia McDonald of Malverne, New York; Mayor Clinton Young of Mount Vernon; Mayor J. Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Mayor Robert L. Bowser of East Orange, New Jersey; New Jersey; Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, New Jersey; and Mayor Kim Bracey of York, Pennsylvania, among others.
“Just as we saw after Virginia Tech, the Arizona tragedy has once again exposed fatal cracks in our background check system,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The law says that drug abusers can't buy guns, but even though Jared Loughner was rejected by the military for drug use and arrested on drug charges, he was able to pass a background check and buy a gun. It should be clear to everyone that the system is broken and it is time for our leaders in Washington to step up and fix it.”
“It should have been obvious that this was someone who had serious mental issues and a criminal past, yet was somehow able to get his hands on a lethal weapon, causing the tragedy of 20 people being shot, six fatally,” said Mayor Healy. “Now, a talented, hardworking congresswoman – who is also a wife and mother – is battling for her life after being shot at point-blank range. Something has to be done at a national level to address what is an obviously unacceptable, yet correctable situation.”
Also present were NYPD Officer Steven McDonald, who was shot in the line of duty in 1986 and left paralyzed from the neck down; Malverne Police Chief John Aresta; Hempstead Police Chief Joseph Wing; Immediate Past President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police William Kilfoil; and Tatiana Timoshenko, the mother of NYPD Officer Russel Timoshenko, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2007.
In 2009, Mayors Against Illegal Guns presented their Blueprint for Federal Action on Illegal Guns, a plan comprised of 40 concrete steps to crack down on illegal guns without passing new legislation.
Background and History
In April 2006, a group of 15 mayors held a summit at Gracie Mansion in New York City to discuss strategies for stopping the flow of illegal guns into America's cities. Out of this summit came the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Mayor Healy was one of the founding members, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston. Since its founding, 320 mayors from over 40 states have joined the coalition and supported its goals:
- Punish to the maximum extent of the law criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns.
- Target and hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.
- Oppose all federal efforts to restrict cities' right to access, use, and share trace data that is so essential to effective enforcement, or to interfere with the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to combat illegal gun trafficking.
- Work to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns.
- Support all local state and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and share information and best practices.
Jersey City Handgun Ordinance Is Signed Into State Law
At 12 p.m. on August 6, 2009, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law the One Handgun A Month legislation which was passed by the State Senate in June of this year. Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, who first introduced the law as a Jersey City city ordinance in June 2006, and whose administration vigorously defended the ordinance in the State’s courts, was in attendance.
"This is a step in the right direction toward staunching the havoc created by handguns in cities and towns throughout the state," said Mayor Healy. "Thanks to the efforts of our Assembly- woman Joan Quigley and State Senator Sandra Cunningham, who worked in concert with my office to help advance this legislation, Jersey City's One Gun A Month ordinance is now the law of the State of New Jersey."
The new law, which grew out of the Jersey City ordinance, will prohibit any individual from buying more than one handgun within a 30 day period. Because of wording and timing, that means citizens across the state are free to purchase up to13 handguns a year. This makes New Jersey, which already has some of the toughest gun and background check laws in the country, only the fourth state in the nation to pass a One Handgun A Month law.
The new law makes it a fourth degree felony charge for any gun dealer convicted of “knowingly delivering” more than one gun within a 30 day period. The charge carries with it a $10,000 fine.
History of the Jersey City Handgun Ordinances
In June 2006, Mayor Healy introduced and the City Council passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of noticing its disappearance. The ordinance, which was modeled into State legislation in Trenton, is aimed at preventing straw purchasers from providing guns to criminals. A second ordinance, the City's "One Handgun a Month" ordinance, was also introduced by Mayor Healy and adopted by the City Council in June 2006. It sought to limit the number of handguns an individual could purchase. With National Rifle Association support and financial backing, a local gun dealer challenged the ordinance in Superior Court and the ordinance was struck down. The judge ruled that Jersey City was pre-empted by state law from enacting such an ordinance and that the ordinance unreasonably discriminated against Jersey City gun dealers. On appeal, the judge upheld the lower court's decision. The City recently received notification, however, that the New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to hear Jersey City's appeal to have a "One Handgun a Month" ordinance. The appeal is predicated on the Mayor's position that Jersey City has the right to legislate in the interest of public safety.
Mayor Healy Talks About Gun Control
Click to watch
2008 12 08 - One Handgun a Month Legislation
2008 09 29 - Appellate Decision - One Handgun A Month
2007 12 17 - Mayor Healy Testifies Before State Senate in Support of Tightening Gun Laws
2007 06 11 - 1 Gun a Month Bill
2007 07 13 - Tiahrt Amendment
2007 06 08 - Breakthrough on gun data
2007 04 18 - Mayors Against Illegal Guns