MacArthur: “We must do more to make our communities safer”
Toms River, New Jersey – In response to the Parkland shooting and after meeting with local law enforcement officials, a licensed certified social worker, a local advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety, and a local NRA member, Congressman Tom MacArthur proposed some immediate steps that can be taken by the federal government to make our communities safer.
“I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment in Congress and I have received support from the NRA. I have been a recreational shooter for much of my adult life. Yet, I have advocated for more stringent gun safety measures, such as supporting more funding for background checks and tight regulations on bump stocks. While not a popular opinion with some Second Amendment groups, I strongly believe that background checks are worthless unless they cover every gun purchase. We can and must do more,” said Congressman MacArthur.
MacArthur continued, “This week, I held a meeting with local law enforcement officials, a licensed certified social worker, a local advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety, and a local NRA member to discuss community safety and the issue of gun violence. There was no finger-pointing or name calling; instead we had a productive and open conversation about this critical topic. I walked away from this meeting believing we can effectuate real change that will make our communities safer. Doing nothing to stop gun violence in our communities is irresponsible. We must work together and advance real solutions to protect our children and neighborhoods.”
Stronger, more uniform background checks
- “I do not believe the shooter in this instance should have been able to get a gun. Yet, he did, because the system failed. While I have voted for more robust funding for NICS – the federal background check system – there are clearly problems with it. I am calling on Attorney General Sessions to issue guidance to States, which have their own background check systems, on ways to bolster their efforts, and make them more universal across the board. I also believe that background checks are worthless, unless they cover every gun purchase.”
Secure our schools through additional personnel and safe infrastructure improvements
- “Congress must provide more funding and training resources to local school districts to enhance physical security in schools, through personnel, training, and additional infrastructure. We must consider federal grants to fund armed security in schools, as we have in airports and malls across the nation. Our schools are less secure than our banks. There’s something wrong with that.”
Create a national pilot program to address mental health concerns in real time
- “We must do more to empower our teachers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers, who spend more time with our children than anyone. They see things that others may not see and often have their hands tied by endless red-tape. We need to empower these professionals, which can be done by launching a national pilot of the On P.O.I.N.T. program, which is seeing tremendous success in Stafford Township. This program partners law enforcement with social workers to help provide mental health services to individuals who need it. This program is working in our district and it will work nationwide.”
Get illegal guns off our streets
- “We can’t have a conversation about gun violence without mentioning the atrocities that are occurring across our country on a daily basis with illegal weapons. We need to get illegal weapons off our streets with increased gun buyback programs and targeted, well-funded law enforcement efforts to target illegal weapons.”
Study gun violence at federal level
- “While I have seen too many wasteful studies in government, we need more scientific research on gun violence and its causes. This is a worthy investment by the government, and can be done by several federal agencies. Any study must also consider the moral and spiritual decay in our society. Hollywood glorifies violence, the media makes its perpetrators famous, and the video game industry creates ever more realistic virtual games, where killing is a form of entertainment. Sick and troubled people feed off of this. I am not suggesting that we outlaw media coverage, movies, or video games, but we need to confront the impact these things have on children. I am willing to lead on, serve or support such a study, which should include diverse perspectives.”
On February 19th, Congressman Tom MacArthur held a meeting to discuss community safety in Stafford Township. The meeting was attended by Mayor John Spodofora, Police Chief Tom Dellane, Captain Herman Pharo, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Meghan Corrigan, Charlene Hoverter - Barnegat resident who is Survivor Engagement Lead and Fellow for Everytown for Gun Safety and a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and Randy Campoli who is a local business owner, NRA member, and hunter.
About the On POINT Program:
The Stafford Township Police Department (STPD), located in Manahawkin, New Jersey in conjunction with Ocean Mental Health Services (OceanMHS) located in Bayville, New Jersey are partners in the On P.O.I.N.T. (Proactive Outreach In Needs and Treatment) program. On P.O.I.N.T. provides on-site social workers in the STPD throughout the week. The program was developed to address the high volume of mental health, substance abuse and social service related calls and incidents that utilize a considerable volume of police and emergency resources.