Washington, D.C., December 13, 2019 - On Tuesday, two shooters murdered four individuals in a hate-motivated attack in Jersey City. The attack remains under investigation by state and federal law enforcement and is currently being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. Police recovered five weapons from the crime scene in addition to a pipe bomb that law enforcement characterized as “viable” and could have been successfully detonated. New Jersey law enforcement are also currently investigating the shooters’ possible connection to an additional murder.
Brady President Kris Brown stated:
“While details of the shooters’ precise motives continue to emerge, when a police officer and three civilians are killed in a premeditated attack, we must call this what it is: an act of terror. Authorities have now shared that these shooters were ‘fueled’ both by anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs.
This targeted attack has traumatized Jersey City, particularly the Jewish community. Large sections of the city were transformed into a war zone. Thousands of students across the city’s 43 public schools were traumatized, sheltering in place. There are bullet holes in the windows of Sacred Heart School, just across the street from JC Kosher Supermarket where the majority of the violence occurred.
One police officer, Detective Joseph Seals, and three civilians, Mindy Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch, and Douglas Rodriguez, were killed in this attack.
While we wait for local and federal law enforcement to continue investigating this specific attack, we cannot wait for action.
Congress’ failure to enact basic gun safety provisions has allowed for the weaponization of hate.
This inaction has led to violence across our country in everyday incidents that often go unreported, including in Jersey City. In 2018, Jersey City police recovered 227 crime guns in their city, the third largest total in the state.
We must acknowledge that these weapons are designed to injure and kill. We don’t yet have the details on how the perpetrators obtained their guns. But, we know that they clearly were not fit to own them.
Lack of federal action makes more events such as this possible.
This is a tragedy. Let us vehemently oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms. Let us challenge extremism. And, let us remember that weapons in hateful hands are tools of violence. We must ensure that our laws make every effort to prevent individuals fueled by hate from obtaining these weapons.”
New Jersey is a leader on gun violence prevention legislation and programs.
Brady supports New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s “Gun Industry Code of Conduct” executive order, signed in September 2019. The order captures the main themes of Brady’s Gun Dealer Code of Conduct, recognizing the important role that firearms dealers have in protecting the public from gun violence. This includes policies that help prevent straw purchases and trafficking, protect against the theft of firearms, facilitate cooperation with law enforcement, and promote proper screening and training of employees who handle the sale of firearms.
The order builds off of Governor Murphy’s additional actions to combat crime guns through the state’s Combating Crime Guns Initiative, run in conjunction with the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University. The program, developed in partnership with Brady, leverages and coordinates relationships with local officials, law enforcement, and community activists to identify the sources of crime guns and reform inappropriate gun dealer practices to help reduce gun violence.
Last year, New Jersey became the first state to publicly release firearms trafficking data, pledging to release the information on a monthly and quarterly basis. That data, which shows where crime guns originate, will help guide and inform the partnership in a new and innovative fashion. The state has also passed a number of significant gun safety laws in recent years, including a package of bills to implement extreme risk orders and expand background checks on private sales.
“Sadly, though we’ve seen New Jersey lead in implementing effective gun violence prevention legislation and programs, violence continues to plague the state due to federal loopholes and an influx of weapons from other states. To brand these actions as ineffective in light of this violence is wrong. Each state’s laws are only as strong as those of their neighbor’s. It’s why we need comprehensive federal action.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.