A-3668, A-1387, and A-3583/A-1613

Gun Violence Prevention

NJEA supports A-3668 (Jasey, McKeon).  This legislation prohibits the state of New Jersey from investing any assets of any pension or annuity fund under the management of the Division of Investment in the Department of the Treasury in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault firearms for civilian use.  This bill allows the Division of Investments up to three years to divest from the prohibited companies--- so if further research uncovers prohibited investments, there will be sufficient time to divest.  NJEA supports this legislation because we believe that investing in more socially responsible funds is one important way our state can take a stand against gun violence and promote needed social and political change.  Several large public funds including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York City Teachers pension fund have already decided to make similar divestments, and funds in Chicago, New York state, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have publicly said they are exploring such divestments.  NJEA urges you to vote “yes.”

NJEA supports A- 1387 (Wilson, Johnson) which authorizes municipalities to adopt weapons free zones around schools, day care centers, public housing facilities, public buildings such as libraries and museums, and public parks.  This legislation provides municipalities with an additional tool to make our communities safer.  By imposing stiffer penalties, adoption of such policies can be very effective in securing areas frequented by students and staff while school is in session.  Simply decreasing the presence of weapons in and around schools should greatly decrease the incidents of gun violence – both intentional and accidental.  NJEA urges you to vote “yes.”

A-3583/A-1613 (Wilson, Bramnick, Johnson, Wagner, Lampitt, Munoz, Wimberly, Quijano, Riley) establishes the 15-member Educational Security Task Force to assist the State Board of Education in developing security guidelines and standards for public schools.  Since NJEA members care deeply about and work hard to ensure the safety of our students, we thank the sponsors for including NJEA on the task force.  NJEA supports this legislation because we believe that the challenge of keeping schools safe can only be met through the involvement and broad participation of community members, educators, law enforcement, and security experts.  The task force established by this legislation will go a long way toward continuing the important conversations necessary to develop and implement strategies and best practices that will keep our students safe.  NJEA urges you to vote “yes.”

After the horrible massacre in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, it is important that lawmakers take the time to examine what more we can do to prevent such tragedies in the future.  We must all ask ourselves “what can we learn from this catastrophe that will help us saves lives down the road?”  To that end, NJEA is proud to be part of a broad coalition of stakeholders dedicated to preventing gun violence in schools as well as in our communities.  Though the bills listed above include only those that pertain directly to school safety, NJEA encourages the legislature to consider enacting other measures as well to prevent gun violence and protect our children and families.