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Letter: Gun Restrictions Will Increase Violent Crime

Teaneck Council's support of gun control measure draws criticism

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Teaneck resident Josh Levy: 

Shame on the Teaneck council. On Feb. 5, without any fact-finding, without any solicitation of opposing views, without a single additional meeting, council members voted 5-0 to endorse all the state legislature’s anti-gun bills.

Law-abiding NJ citizens are already disarmed outside their homes, but these bills would disarm them inside their homes. To take just two examples, the proposed five-round magazine limit would ban nearly all handguns; and the proposed ten-round limit would make it difficult to defend one’s family against home invaders.

Such radical restrictions will only empower criminals and increase violent crime. They will leave everyone defenceless, including women facing rapists or abusive boyfriends, and schoolchildren facing mass shooters.

Armed resistance stops crime. An assistant principal used a gun to halt a shooting in his Mississippi high school before the attacker could kill more than two students.  By contrast, in the gun-free, i.e., defenceless, zone of the Connecticut elementary school, the toll was 26 dead, 1 wounded. In the defenceless zone of the Colorado movie theatre, the toll was 12 dead, 58 wounded. In the defenceless zone of Virginia Tech, 32 died and 17 were wounded. Today’s gun-free zones are tomorrow’s killing fields.

The Teaneck council members clearly seek to make the entire state a defenceless zone, no matter what the consequences. They are destroying a fundamental freedom and endangering everyone’s family. Because of their folly, more children will die, more women will be violated, and more fathers will not return home. If the state bills pass, the counci lmembers should be held liable for rendering Teaneck crime victims helpless. Shame on them.

Josh Levy

David Sudranski

David Fisher

Follow Patch on TwitterFacebook and click to sign up for News Alerts. To submit a Letter to the Editor, e-mail teaneck@patch.com. 


Teanecker February 22, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Please do not take Judge Posner out context. This is from his decision this past December, which today, was upheld by the entire Circuit Court of Appeals: "“The right to ‘bear’ as distinct from the right to ‘keep’ arms is unlikely to refer to the home. To speak of ‘bearing’ arms within one’s home would at all times have been an awkward usage. A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.” Judge Posner subsequently added, “To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense described in Heller and McDonald.”
David Sudranski February 22, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Teanecker, Thank you for your response. I was about to respond that if CP is correct about Judge Posner than Posner is no conservative. He would have been another judge legislating from the bench. I challenge all the"people" reading this article to disprove that the statement "the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms" refers to anything other than the individual person.
David Sudranski February 22, 2013 at 07:25 PM
CP Madison and all of the founders of the country that the progressive movement wants to fundamentally change did not speak in riddles. What they said IS what they meant. Their words were not misleading and were not supposed to be interpreted! Stop being a sheep and read the original documents and form your own opinion, don't read the opinion of a "20th century Scholar" in order to form an opinion.
Teanecker February 22, 2013 at 07:36 PM
I would challenge such a statement, but I suspect that in the context of this conversation it would be pointless. Those that claim that the drafters of the Second Amendment probably didn't have in mind the average person having and bearing arms - are most likely correct from a historical perspective. But they are also missing a lot with such a simplistic attitude. They are also missing out on the actual stated intent of the drafters of the 14th Amendment. When it came time to draft the 14th Amendment, there was a large concern that the "freedmen" were in danger from black codes in the South. The text of the 14th Amendment was written by Rep. John Bingham of Ohio. The principal sponsor of the Amendment in the Senate was his friend, Jacob Howard of Michigan. Sen. Howard (in the Congressional Record) stated that these amendments guaranteed: “the freedom of speech and of the press,” “the right to be exempt from unreasonable searches and seizures,” and “the right to keep and bear arms.” So, while the intent of the Second Amendment may have been in doubt, the intent of the 14th Amendment is not. The Congress, and the States afterwards passed these laws to enshrine the protections of not only speech, but the right of self protection to freed blacks and all individuals.
Teanecker February 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
If you are interested, Adam Winkler covers the topic in his fascinating article in The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/3/?single_page=true
David Sudranski February 22, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Teaneker, I had a look at the article. It was indeed very interesting and I would like to find more on any laws that were passed in the Revolutionary age that prohibited individuals from owning firearms. My opinion; In that era there were many human beings (for lack of a better description) that did not seem to fall in the category of "We the people". That was wrong on their part and we are paying for it today. But now that all human beings [who are American citizens] do fall in to the category and the second amendment does apply to them as well. The intent was to have the ability to repel the Federal Government in case it attempted to grab absolute power.
Teaneck_Resident February 23, 2013 at 01:26 PM
I'm in total agreement with the authors. The what the council did was an uninformed knee jerk reaction. That will have very dire unintended consequences for law abiding citizens and children. I will be sending a letter to each council member stating how disappointing I am in them. Their actions just swayed my votes for next time.
Teaneck_Resident February 23, 2013 at 02:18 PM
One question for everyone. Since the Township Council endorsed all the state anti-gun laws, will the residents of Teaneck hold the Township Council accountable when these laws do nothing to prevent violent crimes and violence goes up in Teaneck due to these new laws? Trust me crime and violence will go up in Teaneck and all over NJ because all these laws do is punish law-abiding firearms owners, disarm honest honest law abiding residents and turn schools and other public buildings into killing fields.
Teaneck_Resident February 23, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Unless your the woman who stopped a rapist dead in his tracks with a gun. So Art what should a woman use for self defense? Bad words? My neighbor stated that he is glad all these new Gun laws are being passed. But in the same breath said he was glad that I own guns because if anything ever happens in his home he knows who to call for protection (me). I told him to use bad words against his attacker and call 911. It should only take the PD five to ten minutes to respond while he, his wife or kids are being killed.
Teaneck_Resident February 23, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Yeah..lets see if you feel the same way after crime and violence goes up in Teaneck due to these idiotic laws. God luck pal and please don't look to the law abiding gun owners to defend you. Please remind the criminals that there are laws..oh criminals don't follow laws....
tony g2010 February 24, 2013 at 02:52 PM
She was beaten to death with a cricket bat, before she was shot. Ban cricket bats. Perhaps if she had the gun.....
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Really she would still be alive? He could not have stabbed her or clubbed her to death with a bat. Do you really think it was "accidental"?
cp schlansky February 24, 2013 at 03:48 PM
If only Adam Lanza's mother owned a gun. Oh wait ...
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 04:20 PM
" They expressed a position that was influenced by both their consciences and their constituency" But I'll put money on it that very few council members are not educated on gun use and gun safety. So they made an uninformed and thus irresponsible decision.
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 04:24 PM
cp schlansky - you have no firearms experience. How do I know..because a clip is not a magazine. a rifle with is not a good home defense tool and if you know anything about home invasions most of them occur with three to four invaders. so that is two possible shots per invader and you're going to miss. Also, with a shotgun you can miss. Stop listening to movies and law makers. The movies and tv have no idea and lawmakers such as Weinberg and Johnson admit they know nothing about guns and Johnson was a cop. Some of the questions this guy asked me made me thing that he never saw a gun.
tony g2010 February 24, 2013 at 05:12 PM
CZ Most parents would not kill their own children, even if they had the opportunity to defend themselves, although if she kew his plans she may have, but that is hard to do when you are sleeping. That kid should have been in an institution and the guns locked in a vault or never in the house in the first place, but the mother thought she was protecting him. It was a fatal error that resulted in the death of a lot of innocent people. Your not going to want to hear it but if just one person besides Lanza had a legal gun at that school, things might have been very different. Also now the best thinking is not to hudle in a corner waiting to be slaughtered, it is to fight or run, much harder to hit a moving target. Compare apples to apples. Besides the woman in South Africa was in an abusive relationship, this guy should have been locked up the first time he raised his hand to her, perhaps his celebrity got him a pass, like what happens here in Hollywood. CZ I disagree with you, if she had a gun and he had only the bat, she would have had a chance at least.
cp schlansky February 24, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Teaneck_Resident please don't assume you know anything about me. Do you have statistics showing that Teaneck has a high rate of gun ownership and therefore a low crime rate? No. I think people can judge for themselves whether everyone needs to go out and buy a high capacity rifle for home defense. The beautiful part of our republic is that your vote counts just as much as mine.
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 07:12 PM
JamesTS, what we need to do is keep guns out of the hands of criminals and no law will work in this case because criminals do not follow the law. I doubt very much that criminals go to the PD, apply for a FID a P2P and then subject themselves to a background check before obtaining a firearm. We also need to address mental illness and one of the proposed gun laws will keep people from seeking treatment. Have you read the Bills that were passed?
Teaneck_Guns February 24, 2013 at 08:14 PM
TO: TEANECKER, TEANECK_RESIDENT, TONY G2010, and ANYONE ELSE WHO FAVORS THE SIDE OF THE AUTHORS OF THE LETTER: You are very welcome to get involved in this political effort. If you are interested, please email teaneckguns@yahoo.com. Thank you, and thank you for your comments.
Tom Abbott February 24, 2013 at 09:19 PM
If you know anything about home invasions you know that it is not a clearly defined term and there are little or no statistics available.
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 09:20 PM
CP, There are more closet firearms owners in Teaneck than you can imagine. I wouldn't classify Teaneck's crime rate as "low" perhaps average. But here's the kicker. If someone breaks into your home they are taking a chance on the fact that you may or may not be armed. Correct? But if guns are banned guess what, now you are at a disadvantage. Also, just to correct two things you stated and it's not your fault, it's a common mistake. There is no such thing as a high capacity rifle. Rifles just like any other shotgun or hand gun hold one round at a time in the chamber. A standard capacity magazine is 30 rounds.
Tom Abbott February 24, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Gun deaths in the US have remained fairly consistent of late. See http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states for various statistics on gun related deaths.
Teaneck_Resident February 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Art, "Why can't gun owners be responsible for the damage their guns do? Stray bullets? Easy access of others to their guns? " Out of all the gun owners I know not one of them has ever had an accidental discharge and our guns are locked up tight. My guns are in a safe that would be near impossible to break into and forget about trying to take it out of my house. The problem is that the media has painted gun owners as a bunch of toothless hillbillies that dress in camo and are always screaming "from my cold dead hands" and have loaded guns laying around the house. I admit those yahoo's do exist, but few and far between. You would be surprised at who many responsible gun owners you have come in contact with. Look I'll be honest one of my neighbors asked me if I felt he should get a gun. I flat out told him no because I don't think that he is responsible enough to own a firearm and I would not act as a reference for him. If that doesn't make me a responsible firearms owner I don't know what does.
Teaneck_Resident February 25, 2013 at 01:28 AM
I took a step back and really thought about the back and forth that is going on here at Patch as well as everywhere else. I don't think we are discussing the underlying issue which is mental illness and violence. People that are hell bent on hurting others or themselves will do so no matter what we restrict or ban. We need to get away from arguing about the tool and ban together to get down to the root of the problem which is a combination of mental illness and violent behavior. We can argue about gun safety, restrictions, new laws etc... but somewhere there is a person that is mentally ill and slowly the pressure is building up inside them until they lash out in a violent manner. We need to set our differences aside, stop focusing on the tools and start working to help those that are in need of help.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 02:33 AM
This conversation, like many others before it (and I'm sure many others after it) seems to have everyone lined up on their little sides as the skirmishes commence. The same arguments are laid out (poorly - by both sides) with disdain and contempt for any position you don't feel is correct. I am frustrated reading so many inaccuracies, but don't actually want to get mired in this if there's no chance to rise above it all. I will make this one attempt. If the conversation continues on its current track, I'll leave you to it. If it can rise above the petty antics, I'll be happy to contribute. It's important to realize that there are 300 million guns, a Supreme Court that firmly believes in an individual right of gun ownership and as of last week, at least one circuit Court of Appeals that believes that everyone has a Constitutional Right to conceal carry weapons in public. This isn't a debatable topic - it's a reality. Another reality is that guns cause damage when they are used incorrectly, be it accidental or intentional illegal uses. As for this issue that additional guns will stop break-ins or prevent violent crime..... it's nonsense.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 02:35 AM
There have been several places that have loosened gun control laws (Ohio even went as far as allowing conceal carry by hundreds of thousands of Individuals in 2004). In the case of Ohio, some said it would cause chaos, with every argument ending in a gunfight. Others said it would decrease crime for the same reasons posted above (that criminals wouldn't want to commit crimes if they didn't know who was packing heat). The crime rate stayed the same after the laws changed. They even lowered along with the rest of the Country. In short, nothing happened, good or bad. As for the proposed regulations, there's a sense that it penalizes law abiding gun owners with even more regulation, while doing little to create a realistic approach to combat gun violence. After reviewing the current situation, it's hard to find fault with that proposition. The new laws will create criminals out of current law abiding gun owners. Millions of magazines in NJ hold up to the current limit of bullets (15). Under the new laws, the limit would go to 10 bullets per magazine. There does not seem to be any logical basis to this change. Even Mother Jones magazine (hardly an NRA supporter) finds that the magazine capacity issue will do very little to stem the violence posed by people using guns inappropriately.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 02:36 AM
There's good reason for gun owners to be paranoid. In the late 80's, an individual names 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. 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.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 02:38 AM
For better or worse, there's only one side getting "controlled" in the gun control debate. The place to start, in my opinion, is by the gun control crowd getting together with the gun owners and truly understanding the current maze of laws and regulations that they have to put up with. As one example, there's a push to eliminate private sales that aren't subject to background (NICS) checks. I agree that there should be universal background checks. But are you aware that the current instant background checks are performed by fax and phone? Are you aware that many times, the system is overloaded and the checks have to wait for another day? Why not have an online system that people can access easily and streamline the process? As for the rest of this thread, may I suggest you use you ask, does the new law reasonably reduce gun violence - instead of restricting gun ownership in general as some hopeful way of accomplishing the task? If we can't focus on the problem, we have no chance at solving it.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Teaneck-Resident, Geoffrey Canada writes in his book (Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun), that a firearm isn't a defensive weapon or an instrument of murder. In Canada's opinion, it is a disruptor of natural order. To illustrate - when a large person and a small person get into an argument, it's likely to end with the smaller running away rather than being beaten to a pulp. When nature sets the odds against you, it doesn't pay to fight. That ceases to be the case when a gun is involved. The question of "who will win" goes from being a foregone conclusion to an "unknown". That's why, in Canada's opinion, adding firearms to the equation doesn't increase OR decrease the amount of violent crime. I tend to agree with this view. It's also based on evidence. Locales that have loosened gun laws and allowed conceal carry (like Ohio) saw very little reduction (as well as no increase) in the amount of violent crime.
Teanecker February 25, 2013 at 03:00 AM
David, I would suggest the book "Living with guns : a liberal's case for the Second Amendment" You may also want to read through this paper, which highlights many of the historical features and paths that modern gun laws have taken: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlg/vol312/237-276.pdf

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