Mayor Cory Booker didn’t listen to my strong suggestion that he’d be the best candidate for Democrats to back for Governor. So what else is new? Lots of folks ignore my suggestions! However, Democrats are not happy with the outcome of all this. The Mayor, himself, started all the talk during the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina this past September. His decision making took much too long with too many public hints to keep it going. Senator Lautenberg is still our U.S. Senator. If, the Senator decides not to run again, Mayor Booker might not have an automatic right to “inherit the torch” that Frank Lautenberg might hand off. We know that two years can be 10 lifetimes in politics. So I wish Cory Booker a healthy and very productive rest of his term as Mayor of Newark. I know he has important work to do. And I wish Senator Lautenberg a continued healthy tenure as a great U.S Senator.
Gun Control: I asked our Office of Legislative Services to take a good look at New Jersey’s gun control laws and where the gaps exist. A comprehensive list of measures was printed right here on BJ and gave us a good starting point.
New Jersey only requires background checks for the purchase of hand guns. Not quite accurate. Gun purchasers are required to have a purchaser ID card or a permit. To get either of these documents, one goes through a background check.
One can purchase a gun through the gun show loophole without a required background check. A purchase can be made at a gun show, but the purchaser cannot go home with the gun that same day. The necessary paperwork and background check must be done at the dealer’s place of business before the gun can go home with the purchaser.
We do not require safety training or testing for gun purchasers. This is true. Do I have to draw the analogy that one needs licensing and testing to drive a car, style your hair or be a manicurist? We’re exploring closing that huge gap in safety for our residents.
We do not requre a license to possess all firearms. This is partially true. As stated above, we do use ID cards and permits which require background checks.
We do not require ammunition purchaser records nor do we require vendors to be licensed.This is still being investigated by OLS, but we believe it might be true and will be reviewing this.
New Jersey does not ban purchase of large capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds. This is also true. We ban those of more than 15 rounds. We are also reviewing this for further legislation.
But the overriding need right now is federal legislation to ban assault weapons and to require background checks on gun purchasers. Mental health resources, how they are maintained and funded, and how we reduce the “stigma” of asking for help must also be an important part of the discussion.
In other news this past week.
Governor Christie takes over the Morris County Proseutor’s Office. The Governor was very impatient with the Senate Judiciary Committee (of which I am a member) not yet giving a hearing to his nominee for this position. So, typical of the Governor, his attitude was “I’m not waiting any longer”. Who cares about constitutional authority of the Senate to “advise & consent”? With the help of the Attorney General, he just moved in to the office and installed the fellow he originally nominated. The Senate then sent the Governor a message with 24 votes from all our Democratic Senators. OK, Governor, we will release your nominee from the requirements of the Judiciary list, and send his name to the floor of the full Senate. Then all 24 members of the Democratic caucus voted to defeat the Governor’s nominee. In truth, the Governor’s guy is serving in the office under the title of Deputy AG, rather than as Prosecutor. I know this is all “inside political baseball”, but I was proud of our leadership and our caucus that we stood together on this message to Governor Christie.
Had to hold the new updates for Open Public Records and Open Public Meeting Acts to tighten up some language. Look for that debate at our first voting session in the new year.
Taking next week off from my “musings” on Blue Jersey. Merry Christmas to our readers. I wish all of us a safe, peaceful and wonderful new year. Politics and government will provide us with many new musings I’m sure.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2013.