Following the recent mass shooting in Cumberland County, Governor Murphy said the incident “steels our commitment to ensuring New Jersey leads the nation in passing and enforcing strong and commonsense gun safety laws.”
Murphy was specifically referring to a recently introduced bill package aimed at curbing gun violence which the governor called “perhaps the most sweeping gun violence prevention package in the country.” Included in the package are bills that would increase the minimum age for buying a gun, increase law enforcement’s ability to trace bullets, as well as blocking out-of-state individuals from skirting New Jersey gun laws.
But here’s my question: Why is Governor Murphy stopping there? He should support much tougher gun laws. He should support lowering the maximum number of rounds allowed in firearms to maybe 3 rounds. How many bullets do you need to kill someone already? Or he should at least support making gun owners give a full accounting every month of how they used their weapons, how many bullets were shot, and where they were shot. Perhaps he should bar people from buying guns altogether! We have the police, right? They’ll protect us, just as they were able to protect the 2 dead people in Cumberland County…
If it isn’t clear yet, I am being sarcastic. What we have seen over and over again is that individuals who want to commit crimes with guns will find a way to do so. It isn’t difficult to get your hands on an illegal gun. And all these laws and restrictions and so-called “safety measures” being introduced by Governor Murphy do only one thing – make it more difficult for law-abiding, safe, and responsible citizens to protect themselves in times of danger. The bad guy will likely have a gun and won’t have any limit on how many rounds he’s carrying – after all, he doesn’t quite care what Governor Murphy told him not to do. Only the legal gun owner follows the law.
The mass shooting in Cumberland County showed us what we already knew: If you want to stop bad people with guns, you need good people with guns. That’s literally the logic behind police officers having guns. Why wouldn’t it apply to all people? The cops didn’t get there in time in the latest mass shooting, why would anyone believe they will get there in time when they are in danger? This isn’t a critique of the police, it’s an acknowledgment of reality.
We don’t need tougher gun laws to stop mass shootings. In fact, those laws have the polar opposite effect of what we want. Those laws are reactionary, not thought out, and unhelpful. They only result in more dead people. If you want to help end the scourge of gun violence in New Jersey and across the country, you make it easier, not harder, for law-abiding citizens to obtain and become trained in firearm use.
Let’s see if Governor Murphy figures that out. I’m not holding my breath.