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NJ Mayors Group: Enough Is Enough on Illegal Guns

Mayors Against Illegal Guns gathered for a press conference Monday morning to tell legislators, enough is enough.

From Vermont to New Mexico, members of the 800-strong Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition of elected officials gathered to voice their frustration to Washington and push legislators to support laws that ban violent assault weapons, makes gun trafficking a federal crime and increases the background checks on potential gun owners.

"It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, it's about gun violence," said former N.J. Gov. Jim Florio, who joined the group of local legislative leaders and law enforcement officials. Florio took much of the credit for getting tough with N.J. gun laws in the 1990s. 

"We formulated this issue in terms of whether the people in the state thought it was in the public interest to have more access to Uzi's and AK-47s." 

A group of a dozen New Jersey mayors will embark on a trip to Washington, D.C. this week to talk to Congress and advocate for a set of changes in response to events of mass gun violence across the country, most recently, the massacre of innocent children in Newtown, Conn., which occurred exactly one month ago.

Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac is a member of the organization.

"We've had enough calls and emails, we're going to go and sit face-to-face with Congress and their staff," said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who will be headed to Washington on Wednesday. "For now is the time for them to crackdown on gun violence."

According to the group, there are 33 Americans murdered with guns everyday. 

Florio blamed gunmakers for the lack of movement in new gun legislation in the wake of several mass killings.

"The real motivation for this whole thing is profit. Gun manufacturers, gun dealers, they're the driving force behind this," he said. "Many legitimate sportsmen, many legitimate hunters are embarrassed by the NRA, whose answer to gun violence is to say we should have more guns. That makes no sense."

Perhaps the most personal testimonial for gun control came from the parent of a victim in the Virginia Tech shootings six years ago. Michael Pohle, a Flemington man who says his son's head was nearly shot off in the massacre said there needs to be something done about the prevalence of high-powered guns, because they are becoming bigger, and deadlier.

"My son was killed with a semi-automatic handgun. The weapon of choice now, have evolved, it is now a high-capacity semi-automatic rifle. Next, are we talking about shoulder-powered rocket launchers which are perfectly legal to buy and sell at a private sell without a background check," he said.

Pohle took Congressman Leonard Lance to task for his attention to gun control.

"I am very sorry to say my Congressman in Hunterdon County, Leonard Lance, has been silent," said Pohle. "All he has done is put an occasional note on his website saying he is open to the discussion. He is a coward. This demands action."

Lance, who wasn't in attendance, later issued a response to Pohle. The Congressman said he emailed with Pohle following the Newtown shooting and wrote about his support for "reducing gun violence in America." In an email from his press office, Lance said he was committed to "crafting a comprehensive, bipartisan response to these recent senseless acts of mass violence."

“I look forward to reviewing the recommendations put forth by the President's working group on gun violence and stand ready to work with Mr. Pohle and others toward the common goal of keeping firearms out of the hands of those in our society who wish to do harm,”  said Congressman Leonard Lance.

There are three things the coalition of mayors are urging Congress to consider:

  • Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales and gun show sales. Currently, only licensed dealers are required to check.
  • Ban on military-style and assault style weapons and high-capacity magazines. "They have no other purpose other than to kill human beings in mass quantities," Sen. Ray Lesniak said at the event. "There is absolutely no reason for them to exist."
  • Increase gun trafficking charges to federal crime.

One sentiment at the event, which was expressed by Pohle, and is clearly the basis of the coalition's stance on gun control and gun violence is that enough is enough.

For more information on the efforts of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created a website www.DemandAPlan.org.

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Stop the Violence January 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I agree. Enough is enough. Everyone, including those who attempt to purchase guns via a private sale, must be subject to a background check. Also, a ban should be placed on all automatic and semi-automatic guns, of any kind, along with large magazines. Those presently owning these weapons and magazine cases should be required to turn them in to the local police department, and receive proper reimbursement. Those who retain these weapons and magazines should be subject to severe penalties. If Congress does not have the guts to enact appropriate changes, then we, at the local city/county/state level must put in law appropriate safeguards, and work with fellow communities to do the same. Yes, our Constitution protects the right to purchase weapons, but about our right to live? Let each state decide, through it's law makers, where it stands on gun control .... Good for the State of NY for showing leadership on this topic!
Katy Lake January 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM
I see how well that worked in Chicago, Obama's hometown and a "gun-free zone." By the way, why doesn't Obama care about all the people who are murdered via guns in Chicago? Or is Chicago an example of how well Obama did controlling guns?
Stop the Violence January 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Put gun ownership up for a vote in the next NJ govenor's election. Give the people a formal voice on this topic. PS: I don't care if anyone likes or does not like Obama. This topic is not about him. It's about the santity of life, not the santity to own a gun.
Katy Lake January 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
No, better yet, start to work on repealing the 2nd Amendment! There is a process to do that, you know, which is the right way to handle it. It's idiotic to try to stop gun violence by coming down like a ton of bricks yet again on legal gun owners who already follow the law. If you ignore places like Chicago, you aren't interested in stopping gun violence at all - unless you don't think the lives of black kids in inner cities has any value. Apparently Obama doesn't. I'm waiting for him to condemn the criminals who do the killing, not the legal gun owners who don't break the law, and for their trouble, get dumped on even more. Isn't it time to start going after the people with the illegal guns, the criminals? Or is that just too difficult?
slyfox1961 January 16, 2013 at 03:00 PM
@katy lake: just another example of the "do nothing" politicians who don't have a clue. They are just making noise and trying to show the public that they are "on the job" and looking out for you. Most don't know a rifle from a handgun, and think assault rifles are fully automatic machine guns. While I agree that the laws should be uniform across the country, and background checks need to be performed on all buyers, the current proposals do nothing to prevent another Conn. style event. I agree with you that they need to get tougher with criminals who commit crimes with a gun. After all, killing another human being is already illegal in all 50 states. Tougher gun laws will not deter someone who has murder on their minds, but this is apparently too complicated for our legislators to grasp.
Irina January 16, 2013 at 05:23 PM
As soon as Mac joined the group, the group lost all credability. Look at the Mayors group put together by Bloomberg (Possibly the same group). Their ALL criminals who are unable to legally obtain guns.
Tamara Winfrey January 16, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I have a plan to end gun violence-- shoot quickly & accurately! That ought to take care of it.
Evans Robinson January 17, 2013 at 03:51 AM
look at all the cowardly trolls leaving comments not posting their names cowardice, sheer cowardice the reason we have a constitutional republic and not a democracy is to eliminate emotional spir of the moment votes for asinine proposals nothing obama announced will stop or prevent another massacre - nothing! the only sure fire way to defeat evil doers is allow the citizenry to carry a concealed handgun and murderers will be stopped cold in their tracks.
Irina January 17, 2013 at 04:06 AM
True gun control is ALLOWING to me carry so I can protect myself. The cops can't seem to do it, so who do we have to count on>>>>>OURSELVES!
BobDee January 17, 2013 at 05:00 AM
True gun control is not about guns, it's about control.


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