RELEASE: Ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Gottheimer Announces New Action to Combat Undetectable Guns and Keep Stadiums Safe

Works to pass federal investment for public safety in preparation for 2026 FIFA World Cup. Highlights Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy to combat gun violence and the threat of undetectable guns.

Jun 20, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer announces new federal action to stop undetectable guns and keep stadiums safe as part of his Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy.

HACKENSACK, NJ — Today, Thursday, June 20, 2024, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), in preparation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, announced new federal action that he is taking to combat undetectable guns and secure public stadiums as part of his Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy. Gottheimer made today’s announcement at the Bogota Savings Bank Center, home of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Knights’ Basketball team, and stressed the importance of public safety ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will host its championship game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Video of Gottheimer’s announcement can be found here.

According to Everytown, New Jersey averages 435 firearm deaths and 1,265 firearm injuries a year. Guns are tied for the second-leading cause of death among children and teens in New Jersey. In 2023, more than 40,000 people across our country died because of gun violence. The threat of gun violence has only intensified with undetectable guns — firearms that are designed to evade metal detectors and scanners because they contain less than 3.7 ounces of metal. A subset of undetectable guns are also untraceable ghost guns, which are sometimes made or modified with 3D-printed plastic parts. Since 2017, more than 37,000 ghost guns have been recovered by America’s law enforcement. Because of their design, criminals can sneak undetectable guns into concert venues, stadiums, and airports and wreak major havoc. 

Undetectable firearms are of special concern ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. More than one million people will come to the tri-state area for the eight games played at MetLife Stadium, and millions more will travel across the country for seventy-eight total World Cup games. As a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Gottheimer is keenly focused on neutralizing security threats — including undetectable guns — from lone wolf attackers, homegrown extremists, and organized terror groups like ISIS.

“Here’s the bottom line: the last thing that anyone should have to worry about when they head to a stadium with their family is whether they’ll be safe from gun violence,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “With my Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy, we can put a stop to undetectable guns and keep fans safe at stadiums across our state.”

Gottheimer’s Work to Stop Undetectable Guns and Protect Stadiums Includes:

  • Legislation to fund security ahead of the 2026 World Cup. As part of the upcoming Homeland Security appropriations package, Gottheimer will submit legislation that allocates $620 million for World Cup security to host cities and law enforcement, which can be used for increased policing, fire and medical services, screening, and more. By clawing back federal dollars for these resources, Jersey can avoid raising state and municipal taxes.
  • A bipartisan reauthorization of the undetectable firearms ban — and now, action to make that ban permanent. In March, Gottheimer worked with Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17) to reauthorize the Undetectable Firearms Act, which outlaws the manufacture and use of undetectable firearms through 2031. Gottheimer will now work with colleagues across the aisle and in the Senate to make that ban permanent.
  • A letter to the country’s major sports leagues, urging them to form an inter-league task force to reduce the risk of gun violence and stay ahead of undetectable firearm technology. The letter calls on the leagues — the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, MLS, and NASCAR — to work with lawmakers, law enforcement, and FIFA to closely coordinate ahead of the 2026 World Cup.

Gottheimer has been focused on commonsense gun safety solutions since he first entered office. In 2022, as co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, he worked with his colleagues to craft and pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the greatest expansion of gun safety in three decades. Before that, he introduced the bipartisan ALYSSA Act, which will require schools to install silent panic alarms in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and worked to pass bipartisan legislation through the House that strengthened background checks.

Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Commissioner Chairwoman Germaine Ortiz, Commissioner Dr. Joan Voss, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella, Fairleigh Dickinson University Provost Dr. Benjamin Rifkin Bergen-Passaic Moms Demand Action Co-Lead Robyn Platis, and Bergen-Passaic Moms Demand Action Community Outreach Lead Randi Blumberg.

Below: Gottheimer announces new federal action to stop undetectable guns and keep stadiums safe as part of his Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Good morning. I’m here today to address a critical issue that touches every family, county, community, and zip code in our country: gun violence.

It’s especially sobering to discuss gun violence in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision, which struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, modifications that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire at the rate of machine guns and, like any weapon of war, cause massive destruction, and, too often, heart-breaking outcomes. This decision is senseless, and out of step with the country, and makes us less safe. But, as ever, that will not deter me from searching for thoughtful solutions that can protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence. 

Today, as part of my Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy, I’ll be highlighting federal action that I’m taking to combat one of the most insidious threats of gun violence — undetectable firearms — and to secure public venues like the Bogota Savings Bank Center, where we’re standing today. 

I’m especially concerned about the risk of gun violence and terrorism — be it lone wolf attackers, homegrown extremists, or organized groups like ISIS — at our beloved sports venues including those in Jersey: MetLife Stadium, Red Bulls Arena, and the Bogota Savings Bank Center. There were seventy-four terrorist attacks on sports venues across the world between 1970 and 2019. This is especially important with the FIFA World Cup coming to our county and country in just two years, when more than one million people will be coming to the region — roughly half of whom will be non-ticket holders, not to mention the millions who will be at stadiums across the United States.  

As a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I’m keenly aware of the threats facing our nation, whether that’s terrorists from abroad or lone wolf extremists at home. It’s only strengthened my resolve to crack down on gun violence and specifically, gun threats like undetectable firearms that play directly into the hands of terrorists and extremists. We cannot let them win.

According to Everytown, New Jersey averages 435 firearm deaths a year. That’s the exact number of people that serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. 1,265 people are wounded in Jersey each year — at shootings in our neighborhoods, at our schools, outside of stadiums, and more. Far too many of our youth have been impacted by gun violence: in fact, guns are tied for the second-leading cause of death among children and teens in New Jersey. It’s a staggering statistic. 

Almost every year that I’ve been in Congress has been marked by a devastating mass shooting — Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Oxford, Uvalde, Lewiston, and I could go on. We’ve had 230 mass shootings so far this year alone.More than 40,000 people across our country died because of gun violence in 2023. Moms. Dads. Sons and daughters. Lives cut short. Families torn apart. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to pass some commonsense solutions in Congress that could put an end to this senseless violence. 

In 2022, after the devastating shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where twenty-one innocent souls lost their lives, I introduced my Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy and Ensure School Safety. I was proudly joined by many of the leaders here today. Major parts of that strategy resulted in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation that, as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, I was immensely proud to help pass in the House. 

That law, the greatest expansion of gun safety in three decades, strengthened background checks for juveniles and those with mental health conditions, gave states the resources they need to enforce red flag laws, invested in children and family mental health services, and more. 

Before that, I introduced the bipartisan ALYSSA Act, named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a New Jersey native who tragically lost her life at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. The bill, modeled after an identical law in our state, will require schools across the country to install silent panic alarms and get law enforcement to the scene even faster.

In my second term in Congress, after the Parkland shooting, I helped drive bipartisan legislation through the House that strengthened background checks and put a stop to unlicensed gun sales. But, with all the progress we’ve made, there’s still plenty of unfinished business and, as a result, far too many lives cut short every day. 

We are still fighting to ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and close the Charleston loophole – something I’ve actually been working on since I served in the Clinton White House during the Columbine tragedy two-and-a-half decades ago. As a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the House, I will continue working every day until we get it done. 

Over the years, I’ve also learned that the threat of gun violence is ever evolving. Technology keeps advancing, building deadlier, more dangerous weapons that are easier to obtain. And, criminals are getting more sophisticated at circumventing the gun laws we have on the books. We’re seeing these dynamics play out right in front of our eyes with undetectable firearms.

To keep it simple, undetectable firearms are guns that wouldn’t set off a metal detector or scanner. They either don’t have enough metal to raise alarms or they’re designed to slip through imaging. Some of these can literally be made in a 3D printer. We’ve also seen a massive spike in the use of “ghost guns” — guns manufactured illegally without serial numbers, which are sometimes made out of or modified with undetectable plastic parts. 

Since 2017, more than 37,000 “ghost guns” have been recovered by our law enforcement. 

This is a huge problem: criminals can sneak undetectable guns into concert venues, stadiums, and airports and wreak major havoc.

I’m proud that New Jersey has been a national leader in regulating untraceable and undetectable firearms. In fact, we were the first state to comprehensively address this issue. But, there’s still more work to be done — both here and across the country. Last month, several members of a “ghost gun” trafficking network were sentenced for dealing these unlicensed, sometimes undetectable firearms. We cannot allow these guns to circulate and potentially pop up at a public venue — be it a Giants game at MetLife, the World Cup, or an FDU Knights game right here at the Bogota Savings Bank Center.

That’s why today, I’m building on my Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy and taking decisive action to address undetectable firearms. I firmly believe that this is an issue we can all get behind — Republicans and Democrats. I know that many of my friends across the aisle care deeply about public safety. The best way that we can keep our communities safe is by getting these guns off the streets and away from our stadiums.

First, I’ll start with good news. In the last few weeks, I proudly helped pass bipartisan legislation extending the Undetectable Firearms Act with my friend and colleague, Congressman Mike Lawler. This reauthorization outlaws undetectable firearms through 2031, deterring gun manufacturers from producing more dangerous weapons and keeping our stadiums safe. It requires gun manufacturers to put enough metal into all guns, so they will go off in a metal detector. I’m talking about 3.7 ounces – the size of a small marble – so they are detectable. 

Now, this law only goes until 2031. It should be permanent, not something we have to fight for every few years. There’s already bipartisan support for permanent action: In January, Senators Reed of Rhode Island and Grassley of Iowa introduced a permanent reauthorization. I’ll do all I can to get this legislation through the House and to the President’s desk.

Cracking down on undetectable guns hasn’t just been a topic of conversation in Congress. Our major sports leagues have all come out and urged Congress to ban these firearms. In turn, I want to ensure that all sports teams and leagues are working together to reduce the risk of gun violence in our stadiums and stay ahead of undetectable firearm technology. This week, I’m sending a letter to all the major leagues — the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, MLS, and NASCAR — urging them to develop an inter-league task force that can address this security threat. I’m also asking them to work closely and coordinate with FIFA ahead of the 2026 World Cup.  

As part of this task force, they should work hand in hand with the Department of Homeland Security, state law enforcement, and Congress to make sure we’re all on the same page regarding security best practices. This is an issue that’s ripe for collaboration. We can all come together — federal officials, local and state leaders, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to ensure our sport stadiums remain safe and secure for our children and families to enjoy.

Finally, speaking of the World Cup Final, as a proud member of the Congressional Soccer Caucus and a huge soccer fan, I can’t tell you how excited I am to welcome in fans from across the world — and hopefully, bring the trophy back to the United States! But, as you can imagine, it will be a major security undertaking – and plenty of work is already underway. There will be seventy-eight matches across the United States and millions of people. We need to ensure that these fans will be safe — from threats including gun violence and terrorism.

That’s why I’ll be introducing legislation in the upcoming Homeland Security appropriations package that allocates $620 million for World Cup security to host cities and law enforcement across the country. It’ll be critical for increased policing, expanded fire and medical services, enhanced airline and stadium screening, and more. As I’ve often said, you need to fund, not defund law enforcement to keep our communities safe. 

That’s especially true when it comes to an enormous event like the World Cup. And here’s the most important part: by clawing back this security investment from Washington, we won’t have to pass these costs onto local and state budgets to cover the difference. The FIFA World Cup is for our entire country, and it’s a critical investment for all of our safety.

Here’s the bottom line: the last thing that anyone should have to worry about when they head to a stadium with their family is whether they’ll be safe from gun violence. With my Common Sense Gun Safety Strategy, we can put a stop to undetectable guns and keep fans safe at stadiums across our state.

By working together to reduce gun violence here in the greatest country in the world, I know that our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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