As a nation, we have much work to do to combat the gun violence that plagues our country.
Guns remain the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, second only to auto accidents.
In 1999, 366 people died from firearm-related injuries in New Jersey -- a statistic that is profound for those of us touched by gun violence.
To effectively eliminate senseless gun violence from creeping into our neighborhoods, common-sense legislation that protects our families from the dangers of firearms must be enacted.
For example, the gun show loophole must be closed. Nearly half of the guns purchased at gun shows are sold without background checks.
New Jersey has some of the nation's strongest gun laws, but what can we do when 80 percent of the guns used by criminals in New Jersey are purchased outside the state -- many from gun shows. A national mandate is needed.
Moreover, to help reduce interstate gun trafficking, I have sponsored legislation to prohibit bulk purchases of handguns, preventing would-be traffickers from purchasing more than one handgun during a 30-day period. A similar measure has worked in Virginia on a state level, and can work on a national level.
Also, in an effort to help fight crime, I have sponsored the Ballistics Law Assistance and Safety Technology (BLAST) Act to help investigators and prosecutors solve gun crimes by providing a scientific link between crime guns and their owners.
In the same fashion that fingerprints are unique to one individual, discharged bullets and shell casings from a firearm are distinct. This legislation would create a computer database of the digital images of bullets and shell casings and make them available to police agencies nationwide.
Police could then compare the images against the bullets and shell casings found at crime scenes in the same way that the FBI can compare human fingerprints found at a crime scene with a database.
Appallingly, American taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to restore gun privileges to thousands of convicted felons -- a heinous act that must be stopped. Although Congress has eliminated funding for the guns for felons program in recent years, the Supreme Court opted to hear a case that could jeopardize recent efforts to ensure that convicted felons no longer have access to guns by giving federal judges the power to rearm those felons, regardless of the Congressional funding ban.
I can't stress this enough. We must keep guns out of hands of convicted felons and shut down the guns for felons program. No one convicted of a violent crime should have the right to bear arms. Such action lacks common sense.
But most importantly, legislation requiring gun manufacturers to create personalized handguns must be passed. It is time to ensure that no more families are torn apart by gun violence. It is time to ensure that the person who purchases a gun is the only one who can use the weapon. And it is time to ensure that the gun is registered and the person who bought the gun is licensed.
Childproof handguns would go a long way toward protecting our children from accidental discharge and would prevent criminals from using stolen firearms. These are just some of the steps that can be taken to help rid our nation of gun violence. All measures that are within arm's reach, measures that can see the light of day if we continue our fight for safety.
We all want and deserve safe and secure neighborhoods. We all want to see our children grow up free from the threat of violence. I believe reducing the availability of guns in our society would go a long way toward helping protect our families from senseless violence.
As parents, as sisters, as brothers, we must be relentless in our fight for our children's safety.
Jon S. Corzine
United States Senator