Letter: Teaneck Council Deserves Praise for Anti-Gun Violence Vote

Five other Bergen County towns have backed anti-gun violence measure, letter says

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Ed Gross, chairma of the Bergen County Coalition Against Gun Violence:

I am writing to applaud the Teaneck Town Council for their decisive vote to endorse the state's new anti-gun violence resolutions. As the chair of the group behind the effort to gain endorsements, I think the Council deserves the town's praise and gratitude for their stand on this issue. Their desire to promote safety from gun violence accurately represents the overwhelming majority of Teaneck residents. Five other Bergen County towns have already endorsed the resolution we proposed and many others are considering it.

Eighteen Bergen County mayors have joined NYC Mayor Bloomberg's non-partisan group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Those who oppose common sense restrictions including universal background checks and the banning of assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips have no factual ground to stand on.

Throughout the civilized world and right here in New Jersey it has already been proven without doubt that such restrictions reduce violence and that the sure result of the presence of guns in our homes is an increase in the murders and suicides of household members.

Ed Gross


The Bergen County Coalition Against Gun Violence


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Esther Sandrof February 25, 2013 at 09:16 PM
The following revised Statement on Firearm Injuries was approved in January 2013 by the Officers of the American College of Surgeons and its Board of Regents: Because violence inflicted by guns continues to be a daily event in the United States and mass casualties involving firearms threaten the health and safety of the public, the American College of Surgeons supports: 1. Legislation banning civilian access to assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and munitions designed for military and law enforcement agencies. 2. Enhancing mandatory background checks for the purchase of firearms to include gun shows and auctions. 3. Ensuring that health care professionals can fulfill their role in preventing firearm injuries by health screening, patient counseling, and referral to mental health services for those with behavioral medical conditions. 4. Developing and promoting proactive programs directed at improving safe gun storage and the teaching of non-violent conflict resolution for a culture that often glorifies guns and violence in media and gaming. 5. Evidence-based research on firearm injury and the creation of a national firearm injury database to inform federal health policy.
Teaneck_Guns February 25, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Doctors don't have any special authority in matters of the constitution, law, criminal activity, and self-defense. I'm not sure why you think they do.
Tom Abbott February 26, 2013 at 03:04 AM
New Jersey does not require the registration of firearms. Judging someone whose story you don't know as incompetent is unjustified.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 03:39 AM
"Legislation banning civilian access to assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and munitions designed for military and law enforcement agencies" Such a blanket statement is very problematic from a public policy perspective. For starter, it's not accurate, as the military doesn't use semi-automatic weapons, they use automatic weapons. It's also part of the argument that if you just reduce the number of arms, it'll eventually trickle down to fewer crimes. It's the equivalent of saying that if you cut down on marriages, you'll reduce the number of husbands that beat their wives. It's a bad argument and doesn't focus on the problem, namely, people committing violence. We can and must do better.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Mr. Abbott is correct. I would not judge him as incompetent, but, had I been there - I would have stopped him from talking. Based on NJ's previous history with similar cases, he very well could be prosecuted for his question.
Genesis Liu February 26, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Interesting Teaneck_Resident. I have never been carded other than for my age. Recently, I purchased a small amount of ammo (500 rounds), was not asked for anything. My husband usually orders it for me, never asked him if they requested that information from him but they didn't ask it of me. You are right, I purchased my ammo from a store in PA, no NJF ID card was required. On the brighter side... I wish people, especially women would come and join our Firearms Safety and Shooting group. I believe being a part of a group that serves a purpose gives people like myself a bit of elbow room when threatened by governments with all these new regulations (its sort of a cushion). I ask people "Why do you have a gun that you don't use" their answer is usually "just in case" (WRONG). I have guns because I like to shoot (I don't think I would EVER use a gun for self defense especially living in my part of Bergen County) there are other ways in defending ones self. I do believe people should have some sort of training before purchasing any kind of gun, that would ensure that the purchaser is serious about gun ownership (I am sure there will be a big price tag on lessons) but its worth it. I like staying up today on how local communities feel about gun control. Thank you Teaneck Resident :0)
Genesis Liu February 26, 2013 at 04:01 AM
curious to know the total of illegal vs. legal guns being brought back. Some people I know sold their guns back because they had no use for them, didn't hear of to many illegal guns being turned in. Can anyone point me in that direction? Thanks
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Genesis, it's my understanding that many of these programs promise not to run the serial numbers on the firearms (so as not to create a situation where criminals won't bring them forward), thereby making it impossible to distinguish between guns that were legally owned and those that were not. I'd be interested in any data that can be provided for those jurisdictions that do such testing though.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 04:29 AM
This article from a recent gun buy back in Newark has some info: http://newarknj.patch.com/articles/gun-buyback-this-past-weekend-largest-in-essex-county-history "A conference table at Newark’s emergency services operations center was piled high Tuesday with a diverse cache of firearms, including 70 guns that were illegal to own because they had high-capacity magazines, sawed-off barrels or for other reasons. At least six had been stolen, and one had been used in a Newark shooting, said Samuel DeMaio, the director of the Newark Police Department. "
Teaneck_Guns February 26, 2013 at 05:33 AM
Mr. Abbot - I heard him tell his story himself. He spoke at the Feb. 5 meeting, which was recorded and can be watched online. He said he couldn't find the form to register his firearms, but all he did was check with the local police. It's not the obligation of the local police to take care of such a thing - and he took no other steps. On that basis, he concluded that something was wrong with NJ law. Would you call that competent?
Tom Abbott February 26, 2013 at 08:07 AM
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 02:48 PM
The individual who spoke was uncertain about the law. While it's a goal to strive for everyone to understand statutes, the way laws work that's not really possible. In this case however, he very well could have gotten himself arrested. NJ is replete with stories of people making honest mistakes and paying dearly later on when it comes to gun laws. Mostly because of this uncertainty. As I wrote in the other thread on this topic: "an individual named Joseph Pelleteri (source: http://www.constitution.org/2ll/bardwell/state_v_pelleteri.txt) won a rife in a police auction. Years later, when the rifle was found in a safe, unloaded and apparently never fired with the tags still attached, he was nevertheless arrested, tried and CONVICTED for owning an assault weapon. This is how laws are prosecuted in NJ. They scare people that try to navigate a complicated framework. Recently, Brian Aitken had his sentence commuted by the Governor after he was convicted of having a 17 round magazine while moving from Colorado to NJ. They were legal in Colorado. By no means am I saying the people should have carte blanche to ignore NJ gun laws. But, it's unfortunate that people like Aitken and Pelleteri, that are clearly not the ones that are "threats" to the public, are being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 02:48 PM
"We CAN and we SHOULD be finding a way to make better laws that stand a chance of reducing violence while either not affecting current owners - or - making it easier on current law abiding gun owners."
Teaneck_Guns February 26, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Mr. Abbot, it's too bad you won't respond reasonably. (And again, I find this attitude typical of most gungrabbers.)
Teaneck_Resident February 26, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I think that both sides keep forgetting the two main issues, I am guilt as well, as we get fixated on our side of the argument. We have to forget about the tool and concentrate on the underlying causes of violence, violent behavior and mental illness. We also need to address family structure and support. Three examples that have to do with violence and/or mental illness. 1. Just the other day a man attacked his wife with a meat cleaver on the streets of NY, 2. McVeigh killed hundreds with a fertilizer bomb and 3. when I was younger I saw a man hack his wife apart with a machete on the street while many of us were trying to stop him. All these cases have deep rooted problems that resulted in a violent outcomes. We need to address the underlying causes and then we'll make some progress and save many lives.
Teaneck_Guns February 26, 2013 at 06:32 PM
The gungrabbers are not willing or capable of acknowledging the self-evident facts you cite. To them, the gun is not a tool; it is a big cause of crime, if not the biggest cause of crime. They actually believe that if guns are eradicated, many criminals will stop being criminals. This is a pleasant fantasy that has the added benefit of not requiring any serious thought.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Humans aren't very good at judging risk. We SEE guns in crime and the association is made for us that guns cause crime. Obviously, that's not true. It's the equivalent of seeing insulin in the home of every diabetic and coming to the conclusion that insulin causes diabetes. If you take a step back and look at the larger picture, it's amazing how few firearms are actually used in crimes. If you take a look at data on licensed owners, they have violence and arrest rates at much lower percentages than the general population.
Tom Abbott February 26, 2013 at 07:09 PM
"If you take a look at data on licensed owners, they have violence and arrest rates at much lower percentages than the general population." Can you provide the source for this?
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Mr Abbott, Like many things surrounding this debate, accurate data is hard to come by. One source quoted quite often is Florida and Ohio since both radically changed their gun laws which allowed for comparison after they permitted the issuance of many conceal carry licenses and revoke them for infractions (including gun crimes). Florida changed the laws in 1987 and Ohio in 2004. I am not by ANY means saying that more guns reduce crime, so please don't read that into my comment. At best, the addition of licensed firearms appears to have a negligible impact on crime. All this shows is that people that submit to a background check are more law abiding. You can find the raw data on Floridas website: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/stats/cw_monthly.pdf The number of permits issued: 2,389,459 (rate of 23.9 / 100,000) The number revoked due to committing of a crime: 6,604 (rate of 11.06 / 100,000 / year)
Teaneck_Resident February 26, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Folks, can we stop arguing and start addressing the underlying issues of violence and concentrate on treating mental illness? if we come together to work on these two issues it's my hope that in the long run folks lives will improve.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 07:49 PM
(cont) The number revoked due to committing of a crime involving a firearm: 168 (rate of .28 / 100,000 / year) According to Factcheck.org: Rate of gun murders: 3.59 per 100,000 Rate of gun aggravated assaults: 50.8 per 100,000 Rate if nonfatal gun injuries and assault: 17.8 per 100,000 Rate of gun robberies: 45.8 per 100,000 Total = 117.99 per 100,000 vs. .28 for licensed carriers of firearms Again, all this "proves" is that people that are willing to go through background checks are less likely to commit crimes. I don't find it all that surprising.
Teanecker February 26, 2013 at 07:50 PM
source: http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/
Tom Abbott February 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Thanks for the information. I do have some quibbles with the numbers derived from the Florida statistics. However, it does not take away from the conclusion that, "all this 'proves' is that people that are willing to go through background checks are less likely to commit crimes." I also don't find it surprising.. The number of licenses issued over the 25.75 years covered by the data is not a useful number for the calculations. Far better is the number of currently valid licenses - 1,019,866. Using 19,317,568 as an estimated 2012 Florida population gives about 1 license per 19 residents or 5279/100,000. This could clearly have varied over the quarter of a century covered by the report but it's the only information available. Based on 6604 out of 1,019,866 license holders committing crimes over 25.75 years, the rate is 25/100000. This omits the 522 licenses revoked due to crimes committed prior to licensure which one could argue should be included. The same math used for the 168 licensees who committed crimes where firearms were utilized gives only 0.63/100,000.
Teanecker February 27, 2013 at 01:32 AM
"Based on 6604 out of 1,019,866 license holders committing crimes over 25.75 years, the rate is 25/100000. This omits the 522 licenses revoked due to crimes committed prior to licensure which one could argue should be included." As I said, the lack of raw data makes precise calculations difficult, but I assure you that I wasn't trying hide the other numbers. I assumed (possibly incorrectly) that the reason the 522 were revoked were because they were either crimes committed in other States which eventually got reported to Florida (in which case, better reporting may have helped over the 25.75 year period) or were accidents on the part of the licensing authority. Either way, those were clearly applications which should have been denied. Obviously, the reality is that any system is going to have SOME error, but I was trying to delve into how many legitimately licensed individuals commit crimes. Crimes committed before they got the license doesn't tell us much about future criminal activity, post-license, if you get my drift. "The same math used for the 168 licensees who committed crimes where firearms were utilized gives only 0.63/100,000." Either way, it seems to my eye, that at a minimum, we'd be in better shape if we created national requirements similar to Florida's requirements for conceal carry. They require a class on gun basics and safety along with all the other background checks.
Tom Abbott February 27, 2013 at 02:07 AM
I did not mean to suggest in any way you were trying to hide anything. The comment about the 522 was just something I thought worth considering. Significantly more data would be needed to conclude that creating, "national requirements similar to Florida's requirements for conceal carry," would be beneficial. An extremely superficial look at state statistics - see http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0308.pdf - would suggest NJ's requirements would be a better choice.
Teanecker February 27, 2013 at 02:17 AM
All that is required to obtain a firearm in NJ is a background check and some cash. The class for Florida's conceal carry permit is not even required here. Obviously, NJ laws on conceal carry make it nearly impossible for the average citizen to go about with a firearm (legally), but I wouldn't be surprised to find that those that would risk jail time by committing gun crimes, also wouldn't let such a trivial thing such as a license stop them from carrying a firearm around. I am a little concerned about the current bills before the NJ legislature though. With such a large number of 15 round magazines currently in circulation (the legal limit), the new rules will, in essence make a criminal out of those (now) law-abiding citizens. I've been reading as much on this topic as I can and I simply don't see how reducing magazine capacity from 15 to 10 (which has drawbacks as stated above) will be able to successfully reduce crime and violence. The vast majority of violence seems to involve a single bullet.
PM March 01, 2013 at 09:06 PM
This is a sorry council. The two who don't show up should not get votes in the next sham election.
Tom Abbott March 01, 2013 at 10:53 PM
It's not that they didn't show up. Councilmembers.Adam Gussen and Mark Schwartz were at the council meeting until shortly before the vote when they left the chamber. Mr. Schwartz did not return. Mr. Gussen remained just outside the chamber and returned shortly after the vote.
Genesis Liu March 05, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Thanks for posting your peace Teaneck_Resident... I agree. :0) I know I’m going to get it from all over the place, but here’s my thought... Anyone who requests a pistol permit should attend at least 8 hours of basic training on hand gun/rifle safety under the supervision of licensed professionals. Give them 60 days to register and complete a class… if no class attended (REVOKE) automatically, no exceptions. Training courses should be at least every 2 years thereafter. Must receive a certificate from instructor, bring it to the local police department and let the log it in for their records. Let me know if you need information. Ok, now I am ready to feel the heat, :0D
Teanecker March 05, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Such a requirement would most likely be found to be unconstitutional as a form or prior restraint. You simply can't force someone to take a class to own a firearm any more than you can in order to get a voter registration card. Obviously, the case is different for those permitted to travel around with their firearm. For those people, many jurisdictions require such a class. Obviously, whether a requirement or not, such classes are excellent and should be attended by all.


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