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NJ Residents for Action, Gun Advocates Demonstrate at Congressman Lance's Office

Gun owners and those seeking stronger gun control legislation voiced their opinions.

NJ Residents for Action Against Gun Violence were joined by vocal gun advocates outside Congress Leonard Lance's Westfield office Wednesday afternoon. 

The grassroots group, organized by Westfield resident Karen Egert following the shooting massacre at the Newtown, Conn.'s Sandy Hook elementary school, demonstrated to show their support for "common sense gun laws." Their mission includes the following:  

  • A federal ban on the sale and manufacturing of military-style assault weapons
  • A federal ban on the sale and manufacturing of high-capacity ammunition magazines (with a limit of 10 rounds per magazine)
  • To get elected officials to fully support The Fix Gun Checks Act (H.R. 137), which would require instant criminal background checks for every gun sale and close the “private sale loophole.”

But gun proponent Greg Ziolkowski Sr. of Metuchen, who was joined by a large crowd of gun owners and advocates, said "it's not about guns, it's about liberty." 

"This is about protecting and defending the individual rights that have been handed down to us that we want to hand down to future generations," he said.

Kim Molinelli of Colonia stood beside Ziolkowski with her preschooler Joe, attending his first protest, in his stroller. "I'm in favor of the least amount of federal government involvement possible," she said. 

NJ Residents for Action president Karen Egert, who organized the demonstration which began at 1 p.m., said she anticipated opposition as the groups stood side by side. "This is what democracy looks like," she said.  

As polarizing as the issue of gun control is, there was even division among those who came out in support of NJ Residents for Action. Gabe Kardos of Mountainside was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1977. Since then Kardos said he has been hospitalized 22 times to adjust his medication and find the right “chemical cocktail.”

“I don’t feel guns should be available to those who are not qualified to own them,” he said. “I should not be able to walk into a gun show and buy a gun. I should be kicked out. It’s only fair, just, and practical to prevent people like me from obtaining weapons. If my medication isn’t working and I start thinking everyone is an alien, I shouldn’t be able to get my hands on an AK-47.”

But Tom Crownover of Plainfield does not believe the problem with gun violence has anything to do with mental health. Rather, Crownover said he supports U.S. Representative Adam Schiff’s (D-California) call to limit legal immunity for gun manufacturers and gun distributors.

Crownover explained that in 2005, at the urging of the gun industry, Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed into law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which limits civil liability suits brought against gun manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

“Without tort liability, there’s no incentive to make guns safer,” Crownover said. “Congress enables makers and sellers of guns.”

Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, who stood alongside NJ Residents for Action, said Union County will soon be announcing a gun buyback day.

“I think the majority of people are on the right side of this issue,” she said.

NJ Residents for Action Against Gun Violence urged supporters to visit their website at njresidentsforaction.com while Ziolkowski suggested gun advocates take a look at http://nj2as.com/

Greg Z February 25, 2013 at 02:39 AM
I've been and worked in many states where the 2A is not infringed. Not only do you find more responsible adults. You will also find more responsible children. Who were raised by more responsible adults.
Greg Z February 25, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Looks like our elected officals don't follow the law either. This administration will place NO blame on criminals, gangs or illegals.
Really April 16, 2013 at 03:29 PM
The laws are very strict on obtaining a gun license. There is local access to the outside gun range on Sundays for practice and I heard also on on Tooker Avenue somewhere???????
c April 18, 2013 at 01:18 PM
As you all may know, the Senate voted down the first group of anti-constitution, people control bills yesterday, including the illegal gun registration scheme posing as the Trojan Horse called the Expanded Background Check. The "assault" gun ban failed also likely because there is no such thing. These devious people tried to make the MSR or modern sporting rifle, which is among the most popular rifle sold today, illegal, but failed.
c August 17, 2013 at 06:08 AM
On Friday, Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a trio of anti-gun bills after nearly seven months of contentious public debate. Misguided anti-gun state lawmakers introduced more than 80 anti-gun bills at the beginning of the year. By this summer, more than a dozen bills cleared both legislative chambers and were sent to the Governor for his consideration and action. Earlier this month, Governor Christie signed ten of those gun bills into law, but he left three deeply flawed bills without action. Of all the legislation introduced, the three bills vetoed today were the most egregious. S.2723, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-03), was the “centerpiece” bill of the gun control package. This bill received a conditional veto, meaning that the bill is dead unless the state Legislature convenes and readopts this bill in a form that meets the Governor’s approval. The state Legislature can also override this veto with a two-thirds vote. That prospect is very unlikely given the current composition of the state Legislature. The veto message specifically cites sections of this bill which were not acceptable. Specifically, the Governor scratched the portions requiring mandatory training for firearm ownership and the section that would have banned private transactions. Governor Christie also struck a component of this bill which would have encoded permit holder information on a new ID card, such as a driver’s license. A.3659, sponsored by Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-18), was vetoed in its entirety. If enacted into law, this bill would have banned .50 caliber firearms. The NRA argued in public testimony that these firearms are used by competitive shooters and collectors, and are not misused in crime. Governor Christie agreed. A.3797, sponsored by Assemblymen Charles Mainor (D-31) and Tim Eustace (D-38), received a conditional veto. If enacted, this bill would have required the State Police to issue reports on gun trace data, which is clearly a violation of federal law. NRA members and other sensible people, including numerous new gun owners did a tremendous job contacting state legislators and the Governor. Although anti-gun lawmakers ignored constituent messages and in some cases severely restricted public testimony, gun owners prevailed today as the Governor made the right decision on the three most consequential bills. The NRA-ILA will continue to work actively against anti-gun bills and push for legislation that corrects many of the flaws in current law in the future. Please contact Governor Chris Christie and thank him for striking down these three gun control bills. You can contact the Governor at 609-292-6000, or send an email using the online contact form.

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