New Jersey mayor wants gun bidders to answer safety questions
(CNN) — A New Jersey mayor is compelling gun manufacturers bidding for gun and ammunition contracts with the city police to answer questions on gun safety in what is believed to be the first such move in the nation.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said Wednesday that answering questions about social responsibility is now part of the bidding process.
The revised bid specifications include six questions intended to gauge the gun manufacturer’s responsibility to public safety, according to city documents.
The answers will impact the firm’s competitiveness, Fulop said. Refusal to answer the questions will deem their proposals incomplete.
The six questions are: “What do you do to combat illegal gun trafficking and illegal gun crime? Do you manufacturer and sell assault weapons for civilian use? Do you agree not to sell certain models of firearms for civilian use? Are you requiring your dealers to conduct background checks? Do you fund research related to gun violence and smart gun technology? Will you commit to prohibiting your brand name from being used in violent video games?”
An admitted gun control advocate who also happens to have military background, Fulop said he hopes to make Jersey City a national example for other cities.
Jersey City is believed to be the first in the country with such a requirement, the mayor said.
Fulop said social responsibility requirements exist for most industries and that the gun manufacturers should not be exempt.
As expected, the initiative has its detractors.
“It is inappropriate to politicize the selection of firearms for law enforcement,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a Connecticut-based firearms trade association.
Keane said it is dangerous to select firearms for law enforcement on anything other than what is best for police officers.
The bid winner would supply rifles, handguns and ammunition to the Jersey City police department, which employs nearly 800 officers, according Bob McHugh, a Jersey City fire and police spokesman.
A pro-gun control organization in Jersey City known as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America praised the move, according to New Jersey chapter leader Mandi Perlmutter.
“If other mayors were to use their purchasing power, it would force the manufacturers to change how they do business,” she said.
On Saturday, Fulop will speak at an event called “No more silence” to honor the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which 20 students and six staff members died. The event is sponsored by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other organizations.
Fulop, referring to his initiative, said: “This is an opportunity to shape the dialogue around gun control.”
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