SCHEPISI: “I understand the importance of Second Amendment rights”

As a result of having no platform or positions of their own, the women running against us rely solely on running a negative campaign against me. Over the next several weeks I will set the record straight on every negative and false claim made by them against me….

FACT VS FICTION

Today’s attack – Claiming that I wouldn’t vote on legislation to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill persons, my opponents state “You deserve a representative that shows up to work, makes tough decisions, and keeps you safe.”

My response – Despite New Jersey having some of the strictest gun safety policies in the nation, more than 49 additional bills have been brought to the legislature for a vote during my five years in the Assembly. Several bills have been proposed regarding mental health. I do not know which particular bill my opponents are attacking me on but in 2015 I had to miss several session days during my recovery from brain surgery to repair a brain aneurysm. Two years later, in 2017, I missed a session to attend my five year old son’s kindergarten graduation. I would certainly hope that the women running against me are not saying I should be penalized as a result of being very ill or for being a mom.

I have long been a proponent of sensible gun safety measures to get weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill. Yet, as a victim of two violent crimes in my early twenties I understand the importance of Second Amendment rights in order to protect oneself.

With respect to my votes over the past five years on gun safety, I believe in sensible gun legislation. I voted in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of carjackers, gang members, and racketeers among other dangerous people. I voted in favor of stronger background checks and increasing penalties for unlawful possession, improper use, and removing a gun’s identification marks. I am the prime sponsor of a bill to ban bump stocks, as I personally believe their only purpose is to circumvent a 30 year old bipartisan ban on automatic weapons.

Almost all of bills I didn’t support don’t do anything to protect anyone because the laws proposed already exist in New Jersey or cannot be enforced due to lack of technology, such as a bill to require not-yet-invented “smart guns.” There is one recent bill pertaining to mental health and guns on which I abstained because mental health professionals, including the Mental Health Association of NJ, the NJ Association of Social Workers and the NJ Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association asked for substantive changes to the bill in order to protect patient confidentiality and to address HIPPA concerns, but they were ignored.

I am more than willing to listen to any thoughts on how to prevent evil acts like what happened in Las Vegas in the future. Both sides of the aisle feel strongly about protecting our families, our neighbors and our constituents. There isn’t disagreement on providing safety, it’s how best to provide it. We must address better mental health initiatives, common sense legislation for gun safety and we need to come together and have an honest dialogue about a critically important issue, not promote fear and slander for political gain.

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About the Author

Holly Schepisi
Holly Schepisi
HOLLY SCHEPISI is an attorney and businesswoman who has served New Jersey's 39th legislative district in the New Jersey General Assembly since January 2012.