Danielsen Bill To Enhance Large Venue Security Signed Into Law

Legislation designed to enhance security at large venues – co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen – was signed into law on November 14 by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The bill – S721 – requires sports and entertainment facilities capable of seating more than 5,000 people, movie theaters capable of seating more than 1,000 people, and places of worship capable of seating more than 500 people to annually prepare and maintain an emergency operations plan in coordination with the appropriate local fire, law enforcement, and emergency response agencies, according to a press release about the signing.

The emergency operations plan must be submitted to the chief law enforcement officer who serves the municipality in which the sports and entertainment facility, movie theater, or place of worship is located, according to the release.

“As we wake up to the reality of another mass shooting in America, this time at the University of Virginia, it is clear that we must do everything in our power to protect our communities and our residents from the senseless gun violence that plagues our country,” Murphy said in the release. “The gun violence epidemic underscores the critical need for state, local, and community partners to work together to ensure the highest standards of public safety are being met. This legislation will enhance security requirements for New Jersey’s public venues and places of worship so that law enforcement agencies can be best prepared to handle threats and respond to emergencies.”

Murphy was referring to the November 13 shooting at the University of Virginia, in which three University students were killed.

“With the number of bias incidents in New Jersey reported to be up by 65 percent, the time for this law has never been more appropriate,” Danielsen said in the release. “Extending access to building plans to law enforcement is critical for quick response and is in the best interest of public safety for all our communities.”

Primary sponsors of the legislation include state Senators Richard Codey and Joseph Cryan, and Assemblymembers Gary Schaer, Britnee Timberlake, and Danielsen.

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