I’ll try to make this my last post, but i hope the discussion does not stop. Don’t give Congress the gift of silence again. But here are a few facts/observations I think are important for everyone to know.
First, Assault Weapons, including the AR-15, have been illegal in NJ since 1990 (unless you get a very stringent license that none of the shooters would ever get). Exact stats are near impossible to find, but how many publicized crimes have you heard of with one of these weapons in NJ? More so, in my 20 years working in the criminal justice system on both sides, I have seen 1000s of handguns seized, but I can count the amount of assault weapons on 1 hand. Sure the law is not foolproof, but those 2 facts/observations speak volumes of the success rate of keeping these weapons out of this State. I certainly believe some gun laws in NJ, such as mandatory sentence schemes for handguns, are somewhat draconian and could be refined, but this one is a no-brainer. Sure, other states and populations are different, but any argument that such a ban would not be effective or unfair is unfounded.
Second, this call for effectively screening and “watching out for” those with mental illness is totally unrealistic and incredibly dangerous. I am no expert, but my experience has made clear that unfortunately a majority of those charged with crimes are not diagnosed and treated until they commit a crime, largely because of the stigma associated with mental illness. We are making progress in changing that, but any movement towards targeting and labeling such people would be a huge step backwards and only lead to less treatment and more crime.
Lastly, more armed officers and teachers in schools. There was an armed officer in Parkland. Not much more to observe on that issue.
Sorry for length, but in the end, there is not full-proof solution, but taking the assault weapons is the the only full-proof saver of lives.