The following was submitted via email to David Levinsky of the Burlington County Times in response to their request for responses to these questions:
First question-- do you think New Jersey's assault weapons ban has been effective in reducing gun violence in this state. If not, why not?
Question 2-- Obviously the entire country is upset about the recent school shooting, but do you feel it's good policy to pass a national assault weapons ban in response?Question 3-- Are you or your organization concerned that the NRA will stop fighting to protect the Second Amendment as a result of the school shooting?
David, it'll be a pleasure to help out.
This is probably more than you needed, however it's a complex issue, and thus defies simple, quick explanations especially at a time when emotions run high.
I think we first need to address the term "gun violence" which is a 'newspeak' word to shift the blame away from the actor to the object. We also need to remember that this sort of incident is exceedingly rare, and overly focusing on the gun diminishes the deaths of children who are victims of parental abuse, car accidents, and other random tragedies. Using ‘gun violence’ implies those other deaths or other acts of violence are somehow less important.
No, we don't believe that the "assault weapons" ban has been effective at all. Referring to the government's own studies on the Federal ban of 1994, which is largely modeled after the NJ ban, there was little to no measurable impact on crime. Ergo, nothing is to be gained by infringing on the liberty of the many law-abiding gun owners because of the acts of a few, any more than restricting the liberty of the press makes sense because millions died under Stalin and Mao as a result of the Communist Manifesto being published.
While we are aghast at the incident in Newtown, we don't believe that another (failed) ban will accomplish anything, for the same reason it didn't accomplish anything this time. The state of Connecticut already has an "assault weapon" ban, and it is unfortunately not widely reported to the public that the garden-variety AR or AK type Modern Sporting Rifle is typically less powerful than a traditional hunting rifle. We also find it an irony that the Administration that knowingly and intentionally allowed over 2000 guns to walk into the hands of Mexican drug lords resulting in multiple deaths is now pontificating about gun control.
As an independent organization, we have neither insight nor input to what NRA's position or policy might be, therefore I'd rather not speculate at this time as to what they might do. It is my hope, however, that NRA, GOA and SAF will insist on that "national dialog" many have been calling for - one in which we explore the abject failure of gun control laws, the various culpabilities of the press and media for promulgating copycat acts because of the fame they bestow on perpetrators, of organizations like the ACLU which aggressively work to prevent the mental health records of those with severe histories from being shared with law enforcement (and allowed to walk the street), and of the legislators who pass laws mandating Gun Free Zones while enjoying 24x7 armed protection any time they desire.
At times like these, it's human nature to wish for kneejerk simple solutions - like "more gun control" - however that reaction misses the point. Violence is a force of nature, and as such, obeys those rules. Nature abhors a vacuum, and pressure flows from high to low. Allowing places of low pressure (a gun free zone) only creates a place of vulnerability for criminals and the mentally unstable to exploit, one where innocent victims are unable to defend themselves.
Take as an illustration the incident at the Clackamas mall in Oregon as compared to Newtown. In both cases, we have substantially identical motives, methods, and venue - a gun free zone. Only in the case of Oregon, the perpetrator opted for suicide when one law-abiding gun owner who defied the mall policy confronted the shooter who turned his gun on himself. Two nearly identical situations - but very different outcomes. Note, however, that the element of the CCW holder has been hastily omitted from the mainstream press narrative.
All that said, we need to ask ourselves a deeper and broader question, which is whether, as Americans, we wish to allow the single-digit percentage of least responsible most criminal segments of our society to define for the rest of us how we live our lives and limit for us the liberty our Founders intended.
Or, are we no longer the land of the free and home of the brave?