Tag Archive: guns

Corzine continues push on guns

Following the signing of the one hand gun a month law and news that the NRA was helping to fund ads run by the RGA against the Governor, Corzine campaign manager Maggie Moran put out an email on Friday talking about the contrast between Corzine and Christie as they see it on the gun issue:

And if you ask me, it’s pretty clear which candidates share our values and which do not. But now we’ve got another perfect example.

“The National Rifle Association is pouring money into the effort to oust Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey,” the New York Times reported this week.


Because the Gun Lobby has a bought and paid-for candidate in Chris Christie who will not support additional gun laws to protect our children and keep our streets safe.

In fact, he thinks that our current gun laws are “great,” and we just need “stricter enforcement.” However, when Christie was in charge of enforcing our gun laws, New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s office ranked 80th out of 93.

Here is a video put out by the Corzine campaign Mercer County Sheriff Kevin Larkin, Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale and Bergen County Sheriff Leo McGuire talk about the partnership they have with the Governor on fighting crime and how they say it’s working to keep our streets safe:

Follow me below the fold for more on the gun debate.  

Menendez, Lautenberg lead fillibuster threat to Thune gun amendment

We get this news from Roll Call:

A group of Senate Democrats is threatening to filibuster a controversial gun rights amendment to the defense authorization bill, saying it goes too far.

At issue is an amendment offered by Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (S.D.) that would allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms into states with similar gun regulations.

Democratic opponents are working to rally at least 41 Senators to vote against the measure.

And this is where New Jersey’s officials are involved:

Democrats are closely counting votes for the measure, which will be considered on the floor as soon as Wednesday. A coalition of 400 city mayors is assisting with the counteroffensive by lobbying Congress, and Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Schumer, along with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), will speak against the amendment Tuesday.

They will hold a press conference on “gun safety and the dangerous Thune amendment” this morning at 11:30 and describe the legislation’s potential this way:

…would allow people, including some criminals and mentally ill individuals, to carry concealed weapons across state lines – even if the state prohibits that person from carrying a gun.  The Thune amendment has the potential to increase gun violence in communities, put more police officers at risk and nullify state gun laws.

And here’s Thune’s take on his bill from a spokesperson:

“Senator Thune doesn’t believe your constitutional rights should cease to exist when you cross the state border.” Thune also said that he’s pushing the amendment because it could cut crime and save lives.

The Democrats will have a hard time getting the votes for a filibuster though with Senators Byrd and Kennedy unable to vote, along with Senator Begich co-sponsoring the amendment with Thune. We’ll see what they say at the press conference and what happens when the bill comes up for a vote this week.

Lautenberg wants to Close “Terror Gap” In Gun Laws

Senator Lautenberg joined with Congressmen John Conyers and Bobby Scott to release an eye opening new GAO report yesterday:

People named on the government’s terrorism watch list have successfully purchased firearms hundreds of times since 2004, government investigators reported yesterday. In one case, a known or suspected terrorist was able to obtain an explosives license, the Government Accountability Office reported.

U.S. lawmakers requested the audit to show how people on the watch list can be stopped from boarding airplanes but not from buying guns. Under federal law, licensed firearms dealers must request an FBI background check for each buyer but cannot legally stop a purchase solely because someone is on the watch list. The study found that people on the list purchased firearms 865 times in 963 attempts over a five-year period ending in February.

The officials said that being on the Terrorist Watch List is currently not a disqualifying factor for buying firearms. You can view the complete GAO report here. The officials called it a “terror gap” and introduced legislation to help correct the problem:

Sen. Lautenberg’s measure, the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009,” would:

  • Provide the Attorney General with discretionary authority to deny the transfer or issuance of a firearm or firearm or explosives license or permit when a background check reveals that the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General reasonably believes that the person may use a firearm or explosives in connection with terrorism;

  • Requires the Attorney General to issue guidelines describing the circumstances under which such discretionary authority will be used;

  • Include due process safeguards that afford an affected person an opportunity to challenge a denial by the Attorney General; and

  • Protect the sensitive information upon which terrorist watch lists are based.

  • The Senator’s office even noted that the Bush Administration backed the introduction of a previous version of this bill he wrote in 2007.

    “The special interest gun lobby has so twisted our nation’s laws that the rights of terrorists are placed above the safety of everyday Americans.  The current law simply defies common sense.  This new report is proof positive that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and our communities.   This ‘terror gap’ has been open too long and our national security demands that we shut it down,”

    Pretty strong words from the Senator for a disturbing situation.  The GAO report is 47 pages and we’ll have to see if they have better luck this time around with the legislation. The Justice Department wouldn’t comment other than to say that they were reviewing the Senator’s bill.

    How they voted: Credit Card Bill of Rights and Guns in Parks

    The House of Representatives yesterday passed the Senate version of the Credit Card Card Holders bill of Rights. The measure, supported in the Senate, included Sec 512 or the Coburn Amendment:

    Yesterday’s provision, originally sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), would allow gun owners to bring the weapons into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are permitted by the laws of the state in which the park is located. The bill codifies a change the Bush administration had sought in its final months, but a federal judge blocked the effort in March.

    Obama administration officials had not sought to overturn the judge’s ruling. But Coburn, who had long sought the change, inserted his amendment this month on credit card legislation that is one of Obama’s top priorities. The move effectively forced Democrats to vote on the gun provision if they wanted to pass the credit card bill.

    When the bill came over to the House, they separated Sec 512 out giving us two votes. One on the credit card rules and the other on guns in federal parks:

    Credit Cardholders’ Bill
    of Rights Act of 2009
    YES NO
    Sec 512 (Coburn Amendment)
    YES NO


    Democrats are in blue, and Republicans are in red.

    You can see Congressman Holt speaking in favor of the Credit Card measure and against the gun amendment:

    The Coburn Amendment passed 279-147 and the larger Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights passed 361-64. Scott Garrett was the lone dissenting NJ vote on the Bill of Rights piece. The Coburn Amendment was a more interesting split with Democrats Adler, Pallone and Sires joining Republicans passing the measure. Senators Menendez and Lautenberg helped lead the effort in the Senate toward passing the legislation. President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law.

    250 Weapons in an Underground Bunker

    Wow, this is an strange developing story on CBS3.  In Vineland:

    State Police have discovered a massive cache of weapons at the home of a former Vineland Police officer who was taken into custody on aggravated assault charges.

    The story goes on to describe an underground bunker, 250 weapons, and half a million rounds of ammunition.  Though their much-vaunted helicopter doesn’t seem like the best way to report on said bunker.

    Link from atrios.

    Gerry Cardinale and the Gun Lobby: Perfect Together

    Promoted from the diaries — Juan

    Yesterday I profiled New Jersey State Senator Gerald “Gerry” Cardinale and his ultra-conservative positions that he’s taken throughout his 25-year career. However, I deliberately did not mention his most extreme belief – on gun control. Let me be clear: New Jersey is NOT an NRA-friendly state. In fact, one reason former Governor Jim Florio nearly won reelection in 1993 after dropping to an 18% approval rating was because of his courageous efforts to promote gun safety and reform the state’s gun laws. One of his chief opponents in that fight was Gerry Cardinale. And after 25 years as a State Senator, Cardinale continues to promote an extreme, NRA-style agenda on gun control that is way out of line with New Jersey voters.

    News Round-up and Open Thread for Thursday, April 19

    There’s a lot going on in the news of Our Fair State today. What do you want to talk about?

    The Most Dangerous Cliche

    In response to my Sunday post about Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine and his conservative Wild West fantasies about the proper way to deal with one’s frustrations on the highway – simply put, he scorns calling the police and favors hauling out a pistol and blasting away, regardless of the danger to other drivers and their passengers – I’ve been seeing and hearing entirely too many “Yes, but . . .” comments.

    You know the kind I’m talking about. “Yes, it was stupid and crazy to start shooting on an interstate highway during the morning commute, but tailgaters are so obnoxious,” or, “Yes, she might have put a bullet in the brain of a toddler in a child seat, but the other driver was scaring her,” or, “Yes, she might have killed another driver and triggered a chain-reaction highway pileup that would have killed and injured scores of people, but what about her right to defend herself?”

    I’ve also had a couple of people smile and agree with Mulshine, citing as their authority the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, who once opined that “an armed society is a polite society.”

    Marbles for Mulshine: A Community Appeal

    If you go shopping sometime this week, be sure to buy a nice big bag of marbles and send it to Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine. I don’t know how many marbles he started with when he began his sinecure as Winger-in-Chief of the Ledger op-ed page, but on the basis of this genuinely freaky column he’s definitely running short.

    The springboard for Mulshine’s musings is not, I’m relieved to say, something that happened in New Jersey, but could easily happen on the Turnpike or Parkway one of these days. Last month along an interstate highway in Michigan, 39- year-old Bernadette Houghton Headd found herself being tailgated by a lunkhead in a looming Dodge Ram pickup truck while on her way to work. Many of us have found ourselves in similar situations, and our reactions, depending on our nerviness and level of irritation, run the gamut from slowing down and frustrating the oaf to sending a salute up the one-finger flagpole. Ms. Headd chose a different course of action: She hauled out a 9 mm pistol and fired off a round at the road in front of the offending driver’s tire, or so she told police.

    One Gun Per Month

    If you want to buy Sudafed at your local pharmacy, you have to present ID and sign a log book. By law you can only buy 9 grams per month.

    If you buy a hand gun in New Jersey, there’s no need to register it. You can also buy as many as you want each month. For now, anyway:

    New Jersey could become the nation’s fifth state and the first in seven years to make it illegal for people to buy more than one handgun per month.

    Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, a sponsor of the legislation, represents Jersey City, which like other New Jersey cities has struggled against street gangs and gun violence.

    “I personally can see no reason why anyone would want to go out and buy guns in multiples,” she said. […]

    The proposal comes with New Jersey increasingly concerned about gun crimes, particularly from street gangs. Last year, authorities in Newark, Irvington and Camden seized 114 firearms, up from 86 in 2005. Meanwhile, homicides in Newark have jumped from 65 in 2002 to 113 last year, with nonfatal shootings also on the rise.

    One-gun-per-month laws have been supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which contends they’ve cut gun trafficking in Virginia and handgun sales in Maryland. New Jersey Assemblyman Peter Barnes, another bill sponsor, said that’s key because guns are now the weapon of choice for young people.

    Just one gun per month? Seems sensible to me.