Tag Archive: Gun Laws

Christie faces a rocky return to NJ

Our editor Rosi Efthim said about Gov. Christie, “Despite his protestations to the contrary, he has no moral and ethical core. It makes shifts in positioning look facile.” Nonetheless, soon he will return to NJ, at least for while. A Monmouth poll found his job rating stands at 36% approve to 58% disapprove. Even Republican office holders are distancing themselves from Christie including Assemblyman Sam Fiocci (R-1), and Cumberland County Freeholder Jim Sauro who said, “Don’t start blaming us for his issues.” So Christie will come back to face a host of unresolved matters and ill-will from many quarters with baggage that contradicts what he previously said, exposes his lack of an ethical core, makes it hard for him to explain his flip-flops, and difficult to govern.

Below is a sampling on such subjects as Planned Parenthood, marijuana, immigration, common core, teacher pensions, guns, taxes & budget:

  • Planned Parenthood – Each time he vetoed their funding he said the reason was that “costs were duplicative and the State could not afford it.” A few months ago he said “I’m pro-life, – the first governor to ever speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the Statehouse,” and boasted that he “vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times” to much applause. In South Carolina he vowed to defund Planned Parenthood nationally if elected.

  • Common Core – Flip-flopping his way, he once was a vocal proponent of the standards but on the campaign trail has said Common Core is simply not working.” He is now hiding behind an appointed study commission.

  • Teachers’ pension – While in 2009 he claimed he would protect their pension, he has failed to contribute the agreed upon amounts. In New Hampshire he asserted the nation’s teachers unions need a “punch in the face.”

  • Guns – Moving to the right from his 2009 position, he recently affirmed his opposition of new gun control laws in an interview on CNBC. A bipartisan bill (A4218), languishing on his desk, would give NJ courts and police greater authority to enforce current state gun laws, but so far Christie has refused to say whether he will sign or veto it. In Iowa he ripped into a gun rights activist.

  • What’s Happening Today Wed. 11/06/2013

    “You don’t always get what you want”: We did not get Barbara Buono. But we tried. There were many culprits (interacting with each other) including NJ bosses, key democratic state and federal leaders, Christiecrats, Democratic mayors currying favor, the press, special interest groups, Chris Christie, Barbara Buono, and her staff which resulted in poor fundraising, insuffucient money, insuffcient advertising, weak messaging, sparsely attended events, and occasional bungling. Last night she said, “The Democratic political bosses – some elected, some not – made a deal with this governor despite him representing almost everything they’re against. They didn’t do it for the state. They did it to help themselves politically and financially. But we did it our way, and I’m proud of that.” She stood up forcefully and proudly for progressive principle and had the guts to take on Christie when noone else would.

    “It’s no surprise there were few surprises:” Incumbency in our reapportioned districts trumps almost everything.  it’s not unexpected that your incumbent legislators yesterday will continue on into the next session in January. One change: in LD 1 incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Albano was defeated by Republican Sam Fiocchi. A few races may remain in the balance including Assembly LD 2 and 38, and Senate LD 38, but the Democrats retain control of the Senate and Assembly. Christie’s fleece coat-tail was weak. Turnout was also weak at about 37%.

    The Minimum wage Ballot Question #2: won resoundingly 61% to 39%. Bravo New Jerseyans!  

    Gun laws and mental health services: Monday night 20 year-old Richard Shoop walked into the huge Paramus Garden State Mall, fired six shots as he walked through a corridor, created panic and chaos, and then shot himself to death. He did not aim his Sig Sauer rifle that had been modified to resemble an AK-47-style assault rifle at anyone and apparently had no intention of killing people. He worked in a Teaneck pizzeria which I visit frequently. He always seemed friendly, polite, cheerful and likable. I will miss him when I go back to the shop. I have no idea what drove him to this action. I do know that too many people have easy access to too many powerful weapons and too little access to mental health services.

    What’s Happening Today Sat. 08/17/2013

    Guns Laws and Medical Marijuana for Kids

    Obfuscation: To deliberately make it confusing and difficult to understand. Doublespeak: make the truth sound more palatable. Spin: To provide an interpretation of (a statement or event, for example), especially in a way meant to sway public opinion.

    Today we have an opportunity to reflect on actions Governor Christie took yesterday. Below are headlines for two of his press releases.

  •  Gov. Christie Takes Action to Make Gun Bills Stronger; Argues We Must Be the Grown-Ups in the Room

    The headline does not reflect the thrust of what he did. It is designed to make the truth more palatable. The “grown-Ups” comment is irrelevant and an effort to sway public opinion. The Star-Ledger headline was more to the point: “Gov. Christie Refuses to sign 3 Gun Bills, Including Version of Weapon Ban He Called for.” He conditionally vetoed two bills – a measure (S2723) known as Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s “centerpiece” to overhaul the way the state issues firearms ID cards, and a bill (A3797) to require law enforcement agencies to report information on lost, stolen and discarded guns to federal databases. He vetoed the ban on the .50 caliber rifle (A3659), which is the most powerful weapon commonly available to civilians, in spite of the fact that he originally called for its banning. The press release by its very length and self-congratulatory nature obscures what he actually did. One take-away: read the press releases and what he says with skepticism.

  •  Governor Christie Eases Access to New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program for Sick Children

    He did not ease access. He added other restrictions. He conditionally vetoed the bill. He says he provided “conditional approval” of the bill. Really? The regulations are clear: After a bill is passed in the legislature the governor may sign it, veto it, pocket veto it, or conditionally veto it.  There is no such thing as a “conditional approval” in the rules book. What he said in his press release sounds better but it is confusing and misleading. It makes the truth sound more palatable and is designed to sway public opinion. But it just is not so.  

    We are all used to obfuscation, doube-speak and spin. Governor Christie and his aides are masters of it.

    Public Schedule:

    Buono/Silva Gubernatorial Campaign: Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva: 12:00pm, Philippine Fiesta, Meadowlands Expo Center, 355 Plaza Dr., Secaucus; Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva: 3:00pm, East Orange BBQ, Soverel Park, East Orange; Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva: 4:50pm, Dominican Restoration Festival, Washington Park, 1 Washington St., Newark.

    If you have an item for this column email it to me the evening before at Billorr563@gmail.com.

  • Take Away The Gun From The Bad Guy

    To rephrase the heinous comment from America’s foremost gun industry lobbyist Wayne LaPierre, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to take away the gun from the bad guy.”

    Because State borders are porous, and the internet even more so, effective federal laws are our first line of defense. Sadly many Congress members are paid off, live in fear of having to face a primary opponent, are frightened of a small group of loud gun advocates, and misrepresent the 2nd Amendment. Whatever Congress may soon pass will do little to solve the problem.

    Such does not stop New Jersey from taking needed aggressive action. Alas, Governor Christie, in the midst of one election and considering another, seems loath to infuriate a part of his base. He has just received his task force’s report which does not even address expanded background checks, a ban on Internet gun sales, or new limits on high-capacity magazines. He says he will issue recommendations shortly, but expect baby steps where giant steps are needed.

    The Assembly passed a slew of bills but the Senate has just been sitting on them. It will be up to the legislature, some of whose members are under the same influence as Congressmen, to show they have the guts to do what’s right. And they have the difficult task of garnering enough votes to over-ride a Christie veto.

    What is needed? Sales and possession of any type of attack weapon in New Jersey should be a crime. Yes, owners should return such military-like weapons to state facilities. Law enforcement should vigorously seek out such owners, confiscate the weapons and severely punish those who have not complied. The same goes for magazines with more than five bullets and armor-piercing bullets. There should be universal background checks on all purchases and transfers. Owners of fire arms should have a license and renew it annually. The data bank of criminals and the mentally ill should be strengthened. Local law enforcement should increase its efforts to reduce trafficking and punish more severely those who buy or possess weapons illegally.

    Personally, I like to hunt. I don’t like an America where “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” We have too many guns already. It’s time for New Jersey to take many of them back.    

    Finding Common Ground at the Gun Legislation Forum in Teaneck

    promoted by Rosi

    A former Marine and LAPD police officer once said to me, when I asked why he studied theology and philosophy, “To understand a man, you first need to know what he believes.”

    I was reminded of those words as I watched the Gun Safety Forum in Teaneck unfold.  Earlier, I was not optimistic the meeting would be productive.  The shouting would soon start and civility and reason would be the first casualties.  Or so I thought.

    In December, like any breathing American, I was emotionally crushed by the loss of children at Newtown and have been haunted by this story.  I have family members and friends who hunt, or target shoot, or who own guns for protection, but also ones who are teachers, and parents with small children.  Like the heart-wrenching fights between brothers in any civil war, this one is a classic that has been going on since I was a child.

    On Sunday, thanks to a (mostly ) civil discussion led by Laura Zucker at the Ethical Culture Society, as hard as it was for each side to hear the other, there was actual discussion and questions asked and answered. I was impressed that folks actually learned something from each other.

    Before the forum, a well-dressed, serious looking young man was setting up a camera in the back of the room to capture the event.  He politely reached out his hand and introduced himself.  He was with the Second Amendment Society.  He seemed earnest and polite, not what I expected after watching Alex Jones on Piers Morgan, but I realized at that moment, I, myself had been biased before walking in the door. I would withhold judgment until I heard what he had to say.  He obviously wanted to be taken seriously, which was what this forum was for.  The legislators already knew what the anti-gun side believes.  This was a real chance, in a proper setting, to hear what the gun rights side believed.  Hopefully it would be shared with a minimum of shouting.

    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.