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Rethink Gun Control, Governor

From Gloucester Township to Newark, the gun ownership debate is tipping New Jersey leaders toward more gun control. Governor Christie and his political colleagues should reconsider.

Three police officers were just shot inside a police station in Gloucester Township. Earlier, two women were shot near Essex County College. New Jersey media is stepping into the gun control debate with greater vigilance because of the recent spate of gun murders.

On ABC's "This Week" Newark Mayor Cory Booker claimed that 34 gun murders occur every day in the United States. Politifact.org rated the statistic as "mostly true," yet Booker neglected to distinguish between gun deaths in self-defense vs. gun deaths perpetrated during the commission of a crime. His referenced statistic does not factor in where these gun deaths occur, whether in rural or urban areas, nor the role which the mass media has played in the spurts of mass violence in this country, or the diminished capacity of state mental institutions to house individuals with diminished capacity.

In the wake of these tragic shootings, the New Jersey Legislature pledges to enact stricter gun-control laws in a state which already has one of the strictest sets of gun laws in the country. One would expect the state legislators to exercise more restraint and discretion following the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, especially since policy decisions following a traumatic event yield unintended consequences without necessarily enacting the intended reforms.

Gov. Christie wants to advance gun control to stop these tragedies. He is showing his true colors, a gun-control advocate from his days as a federal prosecutor, most likely. No one should question his caring and concern for his constituents. On most issues, Christie leads from the right, and he is right. On the question of gun control, he is wrong.

This country certainly needs a serious debate about the gun violence manifesting in this country. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), a gun-owner in a gun-owner's state with an "A" rating from the NRA, has advised that every issue related to gun violence be put on the table. Every issue. The saturation of violence in our mass media, but also the whipped-up hysteria from media report and response, must be included. The access to guns requires reviews and background checks as a measure of fitness. Still, the man behind the recent massacre at Aurora, CO, had no prior record of criminality or insanity.

The forcible institutionalization for the mentally ill for those with diminished capacity has diminished in recent years. The Fort Hood military reported their growing concern about the religious fanaticism of Army psychologist Nidal Hassan, yet he remained in practice long enough to shoot his colleagues. Before that massacre, the college administrators of Virginia Tech had possessed limited authority to incapacitate student Seung-Hui Cho before he unleashed his private arsenal on the campus.

Washington D.C. had one of the highest crime rates in the country, and also some of the strictest gun laws. When the Supreme Court struck down the inhibiting individual handgun ban in the nation's capital, the murder rate dropped considerably. Currently, Chicago has the strictest gun control laws in the country, and now holds the dangerous distinction of 500 murders this year. When the US District Court struck down the city's gun ban, the crime rate began to decline. Other studies, from Kleck and Gertz of Central Florida to the National Academy of Sciences to the Cato Institute, have suggested that gun control does not diminish gun crime, while great gun access does not lead to more gun deaths. Even brandishing a weapon without firing has discouraged criminals.

Despite the negative perception of the NRA, President and CEO Wayne LaPierre's points are well taken: "The only protection against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun." Not more gun control but less will protect our communities from future assailants. Removing the "gun free zone" stipulations from our schools will make them less likely targets for potential murders. Proper reforms and compromise from public sector unions would help. The crime rates in Newark have climbed past 70 homicides, in part because of massive cutbacks in police. The Trentonian reported that crime rates in the New Jersey capital are soaring in the wake of police cutbacks, as well.

In the absence of police support, the notion that more gun control will protect New Jersey residents is just plain ludicrous. Holding back the "good guys" from possessing firearms will not prevent the "bad guys" from holding them up. Gov. Christie, Mayor Cory Booker, and the New Jersey Legislature must rethink their response to gun violence. Gov. Christie's charge that police and fire unions refused to negotiate lower pay and pensions needs further scrutiny. Public officials need to step up and give their communities a break.

Impulsive political reforms in response to raw emotion or cultural misinformation will only exacerbate the gun violence which impacts communities without warning and without remorse. Local community leaders need to demand their right to bear arms, and demand that their local peace officers assist Trenton, Newark, and the state government with the budget demands facing everyone in New Jersey.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe R December 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
My talking points are worn out? Ha, ha, too funny, your bloviating and pontificating is on life support. I have to keep responding to all the recycled gibberish and claptrap that gets repeated and reiterated after every gun slaughter. The only novel one is the far right wing gun lovers newly found "concern" for mental health. What a cruel joke. It's just a deflection, they would never in a million years vote for the funding needed to address the mental health issues of this country. Gee, I really hope that his majesty Paul approves of my comments.
Schu December 31, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I feel asleep reading your post.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 31, 2012 at 07:29 PM
LaPierre deserves the honor. He spoke the truth and the proper policy in the face of a liberal, media onslaught. That's what real leadership looks like. The liberal talking class has already lost control of this narrative. Gov. Christie can stand up to teachers unions and the federal government. It's time for him to go "Jersey" on liberal activism which still foolishly presumes that the answer to gun violence is gun control, which controls neither the guns nor the violence.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 31, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Come on, Joe, if you have something intelligent to say, say it; just try to stay on topic.
Joe R December 31, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The Cato "Institute," a so called think tank which takes the think out of think tank is nothing more than a shill and propagandist for the corporations which keep it alive (think Koch brothers). It is a far right wing libertarian/Randian sect that wants to privatize just about everything and even wants to do away with the VA. I'm supposed to take them seriously. They are as about as credible as the NRA and Wayne the liar. They claim to be non-partisan but it's funny how many GOPers they attract and how many Cato guys became part of the Bush administration. Cato and the NRA are radical groups, compromise is not a part of their vocabulary.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 31, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I think you hit every liberal talking point on that one, Joe. Enjoy the holiday and spend some time watching Chris Matthews, Piers Morgan, Lawrence O'Donnell, Keith Olbermann, etc., etc,. to get some new talking points.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Enough with the talk -- it's time for some walk. Governor Christie, control your urge for "gun control". Some Trenton residents are demanding that the Governor call out the national guard. Whatever happened to a "well-regulated militia"?
Schu January 01, 2013 at 03:46 AM
In Chicago there is a total ban on handguns yet they jut reached 500 murders.
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 01, 2013 at 05:20 AM
Schu: Right. Gun control does not control guns or violence. Washington D.C's murder rates went down after "Heller" struck down the individual hand gun ban. Could any argument be more persuastive? Perhaps someone who has brandished a firearm to frighten away potential assailants.
Joe R January 01, 2013 at 02:02 PM
So when is his holiness going to correct Schu's misstatement? If I had made such a goof, the pope of blowhardness would be wailing, screaming and would be flooding the comments section with his tired stale version of wit.
Joe R January 01, 2013 at 02:10 PM
NYC has some of the toughest gun laws in the country: New York City has recorded 414 murders in 2012 so far, which means it's the lowest number of murders since the NYPD started keeping track in 1963. Mayor Bloomberg said, "The fact that the safest big city in America is safer than ever is a testament to the hard work and determination of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day—and it also reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence." Shootings also fell to 1,352 in 2012 (the previous lowest-ever was in 2009, with 1,420). Police Commissioner Kelly noted, Of the 414 homicides so far this year, 237 were by firearms. This is 61 fewer gun related murders than last year, a decrease of 20 percent. In 2001, there were 371 gun related murders, 36 percent more than this year."
Joe January 01, 2013 at 02:13 PM
No guns so they just bomb busses full of innocent people.
Paul J. DiBartolo January 01, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Don't be so hard on yourself, Joe:-)
Joe January 01, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Overall, the facts about gun crime and gun laws is irrelevant. Although, in many states the facts lean towards more lenient laws. So pick and choose what you want to believe. Then arm yourself.
Paul J. DiBartolo January 01, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Unfortunately, Joe R., the gun laws in NYC are not the story behind the story. Gun laws in NYC have been restrictive for a hundred years so what's the real story? Crime rates peaked in NYC through the 1980s and into the early 1990s with the crack epidemic and then NYC's finest went to work to reduce crime and succeeded. Anyway, no need to go on to point out that your post is wasting our time (Google will suffice for anyone who wants the facts). Bottom line, your reasoning is a complete BS whitewash attempt. Seriously, Joe, quoting Mayor Bloomberg? Is that the best you can come up with? Play it again, Joe.
Joe R January 01, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Paul, what about Schu's misstatement?
Paul J. DiBartolo January 01, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Serpentine...serpentine... To what do you refer there, Mr. Joe? A simple spelling error? Or do you see some problem with Schu's facts similar to what seems to be at the crux of your problem? If so, what did Schu misstate?
Paul J. DiBartolo January 01, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Here's one for you, Joe... "At Least 9 People Shot in Early Hours of New Year" (Chicago) Sun-Times Media Wire on Jan. 1, 2013 @ 4:50AM Gun Control! Gun Control!
Joe R January 01, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Schu said: "In Chicago there is a total ban on handguns yet they jut reached 500 murders." Wrong, handguns are no longer banned in Chicago after the Supreme Court decision. From Schaper's article: "When the US District Court struck down the city's gun ban, the crime rate began to decline." There's some valid difference of opinion on Schaper's last clause of that sentence. More police coverage in certain areas helped and citizen watches which utilized surveillance cameras to discourage the rampant gang violence also helped to lower the murder rate in some neighborhoods. Schu needs to reread the article. Handguns are not banned in Chicago any more. I don't care about Schu's typos, I make typos all the time, lousy keyboard. As for NYC, Rudy Giuliani also supported NYC's tough gun laws.
Paul J. DiBartolo January 01, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Okay, Chicago's gun ban was overturned as it should be. Maybe Schu is a little behind the times. Point: restrictive gun laws (aka - among the most restrictive in the U.S.) did not help Chicago or NYC. Question: are Concealed Carry Permits banned in New Jersey? Try to get one. BTW, there's quite a difference between the mistake that Schu made based on some outdated information and the vitriolic rhetoric and untruths that you spout constantly. Here's an example: "It's just a deflection, they (i.e., "right wing gun lovers") would never in a million years vote for the funding needed to address the mental health issues of this country." How about it, Joe, "just DUH fax, ma'am!" NUM SANE there, Joe R?
Joe R January 01, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Yes, "restrictive" gun laws did help Chicago because the mayhem would have been even worse without the laws that they did/do have. There is no reasoning with rabid gun lovers. There are never enough guns, they pretty much want unlimited access to any type of gun with an unlimited supply of ammunition, everybody should be armed and you should be able to conceal and carry your precious guns anywhere and everywhere. But wait, that's not enough, now the NRA is pushing for deregulating silencers to supposedly protect the ears of young kids and hunters. These people are radicals, they don't want to compromise, they are a huge part of the problem with guns in this country. Handguns were not banned in all of Illinois. Were rifles banned in Chicago? Couldn't a person have bought a rifle?
Andre Bademos January 01, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Schu understand statistics: Chicago 10 million people,has a gun ban, had only 500 murders not all using guns. Camden less than 50,000 people no gun control laws and over 400 murders using guns. Thank you for showing us how gun control laws do work. Maybe Christie was referring to your statistics when he entertained the notion of invoking statewide gun control laws. This is not the 1700's you no longer need to load gun power in your shotgun to shoot 1 shell at a time, while riding your horse drawn carriage. In the world we live in the criminal’s use Uzi’s shooting 100 bullets a minute while driving getaway cars and trucks. The world has changed the guns have changed and there is no justifiable reason some punk needs 100 Uzi’s, M-16's and AK-47's to defend his livestock or to hunt with. People no longer own livestock, farmers with shotguns do. The ironic thing is most of you don't own these weapons you just don't want to be told you can’t own them and personally with the venom most of you spew on here that's all the more reason you should not be able to own them. Give me an example of someone using an Uzi to prevent him/her from being carjacked or robbed at the ATM or preventing some girl from being raped. When you can do that you will finally have made a usable point to defend owning those guns. There are more people injured or killed each year by misuse of a legal gun then carrying a gun prevented and that is an indisputable fact even the NRA does not dispute.
Andre Bademos January 01, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Joe R., Good point it's a shame that when you make a point and use actual statistics you get told you’re wasting peoples time. It seems very clear on these blogs that gun freaks love to ignore statistics that prove guns kill, not defend. I find it very odd the people love to say guns save lives but I have yet to see a gun maker put in any advertisement some statistic that says how a gun will save your life. The next gun manufacturer that makes that claim will be the first one. Why don't gun makers show us how owning their gun will save our lives? I know drinking milk helps kids grow helps make bones stronger, I know flying in a airplane gets me to my destination faster than walking there. I know owning a Volkswagen will get me better gas mileage when I drive then my Hummer. I have yet to see proof that owning an Uzi will save my life. Can one of these extreme activists to show me even one statistical example produced by a "gun maker" that shows this proof they claim they have. Certainly if owning these weapons had “ANY” redeeming quality the makers would only benefit from showing us these statistics right? The only statement I do agree with from the NRA is that Guns don’t kill people; idiot people that use guns kill people. Although I agree with that statement it still does not show how owning a gun will save your life in fact it is pretty clear owning a gun increases your chances that an idiot that owns one WILL KILL YOU.
Joe January 01, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Maybe we shouldn't be talking gun bans but rather the people who use them to commit crimes and the underlying causes. Ban gangs, drugs, metal people, then watch the crime and murder rate to down. The problem is that nothing serious is being done about the people who may use guns for illegal activities. They will always find a way to hurt someone if they want to. Has anyone check bank robbery stats? I'll be it's up since the good old days when an off duty cop was hired by the banks to stand in the lobby with thier gun strapped to thier hip. Remember those days? Now banks don't care about us, the insurance pays for everything. I guess it's cheaper than paying a cop. So yes guns can and will kill but what about deterring other crimes? Take the gun away and it's open season on law-abiding people.
Joe R January 02, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Larry A. Burns, the federal district judge who sentenced Tuscon shooter Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison, questioned the need for high-capacity magazines like the one Loughner had in his Glock, and said he regretted how the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to lapse in 2004. Burns publicly called for a new assault weapons ban “with some teeth this time.” He also said, “Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” “Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.” Burns is a right wing, Bush appointed gun owner.
Joe R January 02, 2013 at 02:39 PM
More from right wing, Bush appointed, gun owning judge Larry Burns: "There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden. It speaks horribly of the public discourse in this country that talking about gun reform in the wake of a mass shooting is regarded as inappropriate or as politicizing the tragedy." and "Congress must reinstate and toughen the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."
Paul J. DiBartolo January 03, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Joe R., if you're still reading...please help us all understand the rationale of the 2nd Amendment. Was it instituted so people would have the ability to hunt? Was it instituted so people could defend themselves against home invaders? Was it instituted so the people could defend themselves against an invading army? None of the above are true. So, what was the rationale for the 2nd Amendment? Do you know...Joe?
Schu January 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM
The lowest crime rates are in the areas with the highest firearm ownership by law abiding citizens. On the other hand, the areas with the highest murder rates have the most restrictive laws, etc Detroit, Chicago, LA.
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 05, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Thank you, Schu. I liked the joke about disarming and disbanding the Secret Service, too. Ha! Ha!
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 06, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Governor Christie, the headline speaker at the Republican National Convention, declared: "Real leaders do not follow polls. They change polls." The voting constituency may be 2-to-1 Democratic, but Christie should allow enact more gun ownership in his state. The voters may not like it, at first, but then he can argue thoughout the year that the declining crime rate is a direct result of his going against the popular or political grain and permitting more guns on the street.

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