Tag Archive: guns

Governor must lead charge for sane gun laws

Anybody waiting for The former law-and-order man to be a leader for sensible gun laws and protection from Aurora-style massacres are going to be disappointed to see him once again put impressing his national party over the welfare of his constituents. But I see nothing wrong with promoting a law professor and state senate candidate reminding Christie of the leadership he has the opportunity now to show us. — promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted at NorthJersey.com

One moment Americans are living their lives. The next, those lives are cut down by another senseless act of cowardly violence. This all-too-familiar story has played out across our country from commuter trains and college campuses to supermarkets and all manner of tragic points in between. In my town of Montclair, we still remember with collective horror the 1995 post office shooting that left two postal workers and two customers dead.

Now fear has struck our movie theaters. The theater in Aurora was a mere 12 miles from the suburban high school in Littleton – Columbine – that served as a dark and painful wake-up call to such senseless gun violence those many years ago.

But sadly, the gun violence our country continues to experience day in and day out has yet to lead to a renewed, sustained and successful call for tougher gun-control laws.

In fact, as the body counts attributed to senseless gun violence rack up, gun-control laws like the ones aimed at holding irresponsible gun manufacturers accountable die in Congress under a flood of NRA money. Some Democrats have made modest attempts to lead, introducing legislation to reauthorize the expired federal assault weapons ban.

Campaign cash and divisive rhetoric prevent progress. With firm Republican opposition, those bills have no real chance of success in gaining passage. Few Republicans have the policy differences and the ear of the leadership to help break the hold of the gun lobby. Few can help break through to help enact common-sense gun-control laws.

But there’s one Republican who has clout in his party who strikes a somewhat different tone.

Governor Christie.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has words for Chris Christie on guns

Yesterday, Chris Christie said this, about elected people who responded to the movie theater massacre in Colorado by advocating the kind of gun laws that might prevent the next one:

“I am a little bit disturbed by politicians who in the immediate aftermath of this type of tragedy, try to grandstand on it, and I’m not going to be one of those people. I feel awfully for those families. And this is just not the appropriate time to be grandstanding about gun laws. Can we at least get through the initial grief and tragedy for these families before we start making them political pawns?”

It was an insensitive remark, even for him. More importantly, it displays the length to which the rumored Republican convention keynote is willing to go to stand in the way of good ideas that can save lives, that aren’t his ideas.

Today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Diana DeGette of California, both our senators Lautenberg and Menendez, and New York’s Carolyn McCarthy called for a national dialogue on gun violence and sensible gun safety reform. Menendez talked about Alex Teves, who grew up here in New Jersey. Last year, after congressional colleague Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in a shooting spree that killed 6 others and wounded 13, Lautenberg introduced a bill to ban high-capacity gun magazines – the kind that let you shoot many rounds without stopping to reload. He’ll introduce that again now.

Nearly 20 years ago, McCarthy – not in politics at the time –  was widowed when a mass murderer opened fire in a commuter train, killing 6 including her husband and wounding 19, including her son, shot in the head and now partially paralyzed.

At the end of today’s press conference, somebody asked McCarthy what she thought of Christie’s statement about “grandstanding” politicians pushing gun control. Here’s what she said:

Criminals get early gift from NJ House Republicans

So to be fair, it isn’t just state’s rights hypocrite Scott Garrett who voted to allow for federal overreach in permitting individuals to carry concealed and loaded weapons into New Jersey if they have a permit to do so that is issued by another state – even though New Jersey’s gun laws do not permit this of New Jersey residents.  And it wasn’t just Scott Garrett who, along with every NJ House Republican voted against an amendment to exclude terrorists, stalkers, pedophiles, those who have committed domestic violence and other violent criminals from the lax concealed carry rules that this federal overreach would result in

But (1) Garrett is my Congressman (lucky me), and (2) he has used “states’ rights” as a reason for many many of his many many many many extreme votes – saying that he thinks that {INSERT COMMON SENSE ISSUE HERE} should not be decided by the Federal Government and that it should be left to the states to decide.  One other notable exception to this rule is when Garrett thought it was A-OK for the Federal Government to overstep into the bedroom of Terri and Michael Schiavo in a deeply private and personal medical matter.

With Garrett, it is always about weasel-like excuses such as “we all agree on ‘X’, but…..” with the “but” mainly being Federal overreach.  Here, Garrett is just fine with Federal overreach when it is for the NRA (who, according to OpenSecrets ) has given Garrett close to $30,000 over the years) – even though it puts his constituents at risk.

That being said, this little video I did could just as easily apply to so called “social moderates” Leonard Lance or Rodney Frelinghuysen, or any of the other NJ House Republicans.  But I did it for Garrett instead.  Hope you enjoy it.

Newark: Toy Guns, Real Guns

Toy_Electric_Auto_PistolRight now, in Newark’s South Ward, there’s an exchange going on – toy guns handed over by small children, exchanged for other playthings, or for books. Mayor Cory Booker, whose story and interaction with Newark police and the street crimes they tackle has been chronicled for two years in a documentary series on Sundance, was planning to speak.

The event – Newark’s city council members will also attend – is a project of Stop Shootin’ Music and its founder Al’Tarik Onque, who lives in Newark.

You can imagine the power of the symbolism here. Toy guns are more than mere baubles. Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. Real loss is felt in Newark. And Essex County has more homicides than the next three counties combined. Newark’s police force is likely to come under federal monitor after a federal Justice Department investigation spurred by a formal request from NJ’s ACLU, citing inaction in its internal affairs bureau – the police dept. policing itself – and community complaints of excessive force.  

Lautenberg doesn’t think we should sell guns to terrorists

Following the news that the NYPD says it broke up a plot to attack synagogues, Senator Frank Lautenberg once again called for his anti-terrorist gun control bill to be passed:

“The terror suspects arrested in New York City show the intent and determination of terrorists to launch attacks in the United States with guns and explosives,” Lautenberg said. “Law enforcement has done excellent work pursuing and arresting suspects, but there is more we must do to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. Our gun laws have gaping holes that literally allow terrorists to walk into a local gun store or gun show and leave with a deadly weapon. From attacks in Mumbai to Ft. Hood, terror plots using guns and explosives are becoming more common and we must act to stop terrorists from getting these weapons and killing Americans.”


This is to thank Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez

This is to thank Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez.

When I was a kid, a cousin of mine was shuttled in and out of mental health institutions. He had a low draft number, and wasn’t in college, so he knew where his government was sending him. And he was terrified of the Vietnam War. It never made any sense to him, and he knew he’d have to kill people he didn’t see as enemies. He would have been called a conscientious objector, had his family not seen his disposition as crazy instead of sane.

But I was a kid, it was a long time ago and this isn’t about my family’s mistakes. Tom was well-known in the little town in Ohio where he grew up; his father was the local doctor. Everybody knew his story; everyone knew he had problems.

And one day, he walked down to the same general store where I got jawbreakers in the summer and bought himself a rifle and a box of bullets. They greeted him by name before they sold him the goods. He walked home, and shot himself in front of his Mom and Dad.  

Guns and violent crime

In December Paterson Mayor Jeff Jones appeared on CNN’s Parker Spitzer talking about gun violence.  Following the tragic events in Tuscon this debate is even more important.  Urban Mayors need new tools to keep guns off our streets.  The old approaches are just not working.  Watch here:  

33 Shots Without Reloading

Like so many of us, I have been praying for Representative Giffords and the other victims of the tragedy and wondering about the shooter’s motivations: But there is speculative psychology, and there is faith, and then there is the cold, uncaring physics of the shooting, where a “high-capacity” 33-round clip plainly allowed the suspect to wound and murder more people. If you’ve been wondering about why those are legal, Senator Frank Lautenberg explains the historical facts:

From 1994 – 2004, high-capacity ammunition magazines (“clips”) were illegal as part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.  When the ban expired in 2004, Republican leaders in Congress pledged to not resurrect it.  Since that time, high-capacity clips (more than 10 rounds at a time) have been legal to manufacture and sell.

Senator Lautenberg’s bill, which will be introduced when the Senate returns to session in two weeks, would ban ammunition clips that have a capacity of, or that could be readily converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.  That standard was the law before 2004.

The gun battle has been won by conservatives in Congress and in the Supreme Court: For better or worse, we will not see meaningful limits on individuals owning guns in our lifetimes. But there’s no reason that these high-capacity clips should be legal, and those Republicans who are concerned about this weekend’s tragedy should consider some bipartisan compromise.  

Lautenberg wants to close the “Terror gap”

People on the terror watch list are able to get guns and Senator Lautenberg wants to put a stop to it. Lautenberg appeared on MSNBC yesterday to talk about the problem and said that we had over 1200 applications from people on the terrorism watch list in the last six years and 90% were approved. Here is the interview, where the host is just stunned by that statistic:

But despite Lautenberg’s push, good ole Senator Lindsay Graham is ready and willing to stand in the way:

Sen. Lindsey Graham argued at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday that measures giving the federal government the power to deny sales to people on the U.S. terrorism watch list would violate the Second Amendment of law-abiding U.S. citizens.

But Graham picks and chooses which rights he wants to defend:

Graham described the bill as an instrument of those who would ban guns altogether. “We’re talking about a constitutional right here,” he said, explaining that he could not support a bill that would force “innocent Americans” to “pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back.”

Graham wasn’t nearly as concerned about rights when he launched into a disquisition on the treatment of American citizens accused of terrorism. “I am all into national security,” he said. “I want them to stop reading these guys Miranda rights.”

Graham does make a good point in the fact that there are people who shouldn’t be on the list. But that just means they should fix the problem with the list.  What good is having a watch list if it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to fix the list and close the loophole at the same time. Obviously they’ll have to strike a balance, but not looking at what appears to be some glaring problems doesn’t seem to be a solution either.