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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gun control requires interstate cooperation

Gun control legislation that would limit handgun purchasers to buying one weapon a month has been getting a lot of press attention recently, as high-profile legislators and New Jersey politicians like Newark Mayor Corey Booker push for the N.J. Senate to move forward with passing the law.

The bill, S-1774, which has already passed in the Assembly, would limit run-of-the-mill gun purchasers to a single handgun transaction per calendar month, as legislators try to rein in what are known as “straw” purchasers.

These are people without criminal records who buy guns for illegal street sales or for specific people, who solicit the purchasers to use their legal status to get guns into the hands of those who cannot buy them.

“Handgun violence is on the rise, but taking guns off the streets will help stop the senseless slaughter of our citizens – it’s common sense,” said State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, in a statement.

Mayor Booker, Sen. Cunningham, D-Jersey City, and others have been continually touting the legislation, but for New Jersey’s areas bordering on Pennsylvania it looks like this law might have little effect on the presence of guns in the hands of convicted criminals and other people banned from owing weapons.

Cities like Trenton and Camden are plagued with gun violence, with the overwhelming majority of weapons used in street crime coming in from outside the state. Even with the passage of S-1774, border areas and even the interior of state may see little to no effect on gun crime, with only around 25 percent of crime-related gun usage involving weapons purchased within the Garden State.

“Hopefully, passage of this legislation will encourage other states, especially neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New York, to follow suit,” Sen. Cunningham said.

Only when states with more liberal gun laws begin to move in a direction that allows for more control of weapons purchases will this state see a reduction in the high degree of ease with which a Trenton or Camden street criminal can find themselves a handgun to commit a crime, or settle a score.

The bill needs to be released from a Senate committee and passed by the full Senate before Gov. Jon S. Corzine can consider signing it into law.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the guns come mostly from out of state, but one thing to remember. The criminals will get the guns no matter what. Indivduals have traveled down south and out west to purchase guns only to sell them in Trenton and Camdem. This has been proven by the ATF. Say all states place tougher laws on gun purchases, such a thing like the black market will become very strong to gang members and anyone who really wants a gun. I think the gun nut politicians are barking up the wrong tree on this one!

Nicholas Stewart said...

I have not been persuaded one way or the other.

I really don't think we should make gun purchasing simple. I for one am not interested in owning a weapon and feel that if someone is truly only interested in hunting, target shooting, or protecting one's home, then they ought to also be interested in following the law - no matter what.

However, I am not sure that restricting/banning sales is the key either. We (American society) have tried on several occasions to prohibit certain things. Most notably in my lifetime drugs and years ago, alcohol. Look what happened in both cases. Crime revolved around alcohol trafficking and distribution. Crime revolves around drugs.

I know drugs aren't what the doctor recommends (marijuana, cocaine and crack, heroin, etc) but, I think we need to accept also the point that 'annonymous' makes: if there's a will, there's a way. It's what's made humans so resilient, it's what will be our greatest challenge.

Mr. Cleän said...

First, I appreciate my right to own a handgun, although I choose not to own one. I would be very pissed if this right were to disappear, as it would guarantee us all (as Anon at least indirectly pointed out) that only criminals would own guns. I question the sanity of anyone who feels differently.

Second, who are these freaks who feel that being restricted to one measly handgun purchase per month is some sort of grand trespass upon this right? Seriously, how many law-abiding gun owners purchase more than one or two handguns in a lifetime?

BobG said...

"Seriously, how many law-abiding gun owners purchase more than one or two handguns in a lifetime?"

Most of them do. The majority of people who are informed on firearms and own them have several. Some are collectors, some use them for different purposes, such as self-defense, target shooting, and hunting.
Availability of guns is not an issue; if it was, the states with the most lenient laws would have the most problems.

Mr. Cleän said...

BobG: I agree that 99.99% of all legal gun owners are extremely responsible with their firearms - as responsible as I'd imagine myself to be, should I ever decide to own one.

If you're against the 1/month limit, then you probably fear the whole "give 'em an inch, they'll take a yard" thing. Given Mama Government's track record, I'd say you're probably on to something.

All that said, I'm with Nick, in that I really haven't yet chosen a side in this argument.

Anonymous said...

Erosion of your rights always happens incrementally. First, one gun a month. Then one every six months, then one a year. The government has no right to limit my acquisition of firearms.
There are plenty of laws in this state to address the illegal transferance of weapons. Try using them and quit screwing with me!