• February 20, 2020

Northfield not interested in 2A sanctuary status - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Northfield not interested in 2A sanctuary status

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 11:43 am

NORTHFIELD — A Northfield resident who represents a group advocating for counties/municipalities to become Second Amendment/Lawful Gun Owner sanctuaries called for an end to what he felt are draconian gun laws in New Jersey. 

John Walsh spoke during the public comment portion of a Northfield City Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4. He discussed a movement for counties/municipalities to become sanctuary cities and shared statistics on gun ownership and the use of guns for self-protection. 

In the same work session meeting, the mayor and members of City Council discussed a request from several citizens for Northfield to become a Second Amendment/Lawful Gun Owner Sanctuary city.  

Last month, the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment/Lawful Gun Owner Sanctuary. 

Other municipalities, including Lower Township, Middle Township, Upper Township, West Milford and Sussex Borough, as well as counties and municipalities throughout the country, have reportedly taken similar actions. 

In January, several people reportedly spoke at an Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting, urging them to make Atlantic County a sanctuary county. 

The Cape May County freeholders’ resolution stated that they are opposed to any state or federal legislation that could infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

During the work session, Northfield Mayor Erland Chau said he received a letter from several residents regarding the issue. The letter included a sample resolution. 

Councilwoman Susan Korngut said she had no interest in moving forward with it. 

Councilwoman Barbara Madden said she felt that with “the climate in the country today and all of the tragedies that have occurred” it is not in the best interest of the community. 

Councilman Jim O’Neill seemed to disagree and said he was not in favor of taking Second Amendment rights from anyone in the town. 

Council President Frank Perri said he did not feel it was Northfield’s responsibility to advocate for it.

“The law is there. The Constitution is there. We take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the state of New Jersey … and the United States,” he said. 

“I don’t see us one way or the other granting a sanctuary or supporting or not supporting Second Amendment rights. It’s up to the Supreme Court and I don’t really think it’s our responsibility and at this time I’m not really interested in it,” he said. 

After the council’s discussion, during the public comment portion of the work session, Walsh, who said he represented the Atlantic County Second Amendment sanctuary group, spoke about the issue. 

“In New Jersey, we seem to have a lot of draconian laws regarding the Second Amendment, and … I think a lot of law-abiding gun owners seem to be the ones that are addressed with these new gun laws,” he said. 

He said that criminals do not follow laws and that murder and armed robbery are illegal. 

“There’s tons of data available that shows that law-abiding citizens with guns don’t commit crimes. But for some reason, we have all of these laws that are just, with the stroke of a pen, make us seem like we’re doing something wrong,” he said. 

A recent example, he said, was the high-capacity magazine ban. New Jersey bans magazines with more than 10 rounds. Before the law was changed, 15 rounds were permitted. 

“If I go to a gun range in New Jersey and I’m traveling back from the gun range and I have the gun legally in my trunk, as I’m supposed to do, if I stop and have dinner, to talk to a friend, anything, a deviation from that route back to that range, I could be arrested and I could be put in prison for that. In New Jersey, the laws just don’t make sense, and I believe in gun laws,” he said. “I believe that no one that has any criminal history of violence, no one that has any issues with mental health or any problems like that, they should not be allowed to have a gun, period.”

He also shared some statistics, including from research conducted following a January 2013 directive from President Barack Obama. 

The report, “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” was conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, after being directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to Walsh, the report stated that defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact numbers were disputed. It also stated that nearly all of their surveys indicated that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offenses used by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from 500,000 to more than 3 million. 

Walsh also said that studies found that there are consistently lower injury rates among crime victims with guns compared with victims who used other self-protection strategies. 

“The criminals are always going to be there, but when you start taking guns away from legal gun owners, law-abiding citizens, to defend themselves, suddenly the scale is not the same anymore,” he said.

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