The Democratic state senator seeking to unseat Gov. Chris Christie this fall announced a plan Thursday to reduce gun violence that includes restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines, safety training and the closure of a background check loophole.
Barbara Buono proposed limiting large-capacity magazines to 10 rounds of ammunition, requiring face-to-face ammunition sales and mandating renewal of firearm ID cards every two years. Her plan also requires firearms safety training to get a purchaser ID, bans weapons greater than .50 caliber and closes a background check loophole by requiring that most firearm sales and transfers go through licensed dealers.
"We have witnessed the perils of gun violence far too often over the past few months and we have a responsibility in New Jersey to do everything possible to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe," said Buono, who announced her plan at a news conference with local mayors in Roselle. "My plan will enhance New Jersey's existing gun laws and provide the real solutions necessary to reduce gun violence in our state."
Buono, who met this week with families of some of the children killed during December's school shooting in Connecticut, said that reducing the size of ammunition magazines will help thwart mass shootings.
Her gun platform comes two weeks after Christie unveiled his own recommendations, which were based on the report of a task force he convened after the Connecticut shooting.
The governor's plan includes expanding government-funded mental health treatment, requiring parental sign-off before children can buy or rent violent video games and mandating that ID presented by would-be gun-owners is government-issued. The Republican's plan also includes a ban on the sale of Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles, and provisions to make it easier for courts and health care professionals to involuntarily commit people they consider violent to a psychiatric hospital. But it does not recommend any change in the number of bullets allowed in a magazine. The limit is now 15 in New Jersey.
Legislative Democrats are divided on whether to cut the magazine limit. The Assembly passed a bill in February limiting the magazine capacity to 10 rounds. Senate President Stephen Sweeney's gun control bills don't include a magazine limit, but two Democratic senators, Loretta Weinberg and Nia Gill, have sponsored a separate bill containing the limit.
Buono says she wants her position on gun control to highlight the differences between her and the Republican incumbent.
The governor's gun proposals focus on mental health treatment and limiting exposure to violent video games. Christie does not support reducing the number of bullets allowed in a magazine.