Congressman: 'Our Police Officers Are Out-Gunned'

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – One New Jersey congressman is still fighting for some gun control measures, despite some legislative defeats earlier this year.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has co-sponsored a bill that would increase the taxes on guns and ammunition.

“The tax on handguns was last increased in 1955,” said Pascrell. “Worse yet, the tax rate on ammunition and other types of firearms has remained the same since 1941. Now we got to make priorities here.”

Under the Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act, the excise tax on guns would double to 20 percent. For ammunition, Pascrell is pushing for an increase from 11 percent to 50 percent.

Speaking in Paterson, the congressman said he realizes his proposal faces an uphill battle but remained optimistic.

“The NRA does their job and they do it very well,” said Pascrell. “We’ve got to do our job better. It’s as simple as that.”

Pascrell was joined by other members of the community calling for an end to gun violence.

“I want justice and I want this to be over with,” Nicole Betheal said.

Betheal’s brother was shot and killed about a month ago outside a corner market in Paterson.

“What happens when no one is working, they can’t get a job. What are they doing? They’re going out killing people,” she said.

Pascrell has pushed city officials to look into closing late-night businesses earlier to help stem the violence.

“Our police officers are out-gunned,” he said.

“Our children are being killed,” Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik said.

In addition to potentially cutting down on gun violence, Pascrell said increasing the tax will yield an additional $600 million in revenue.

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