Wednesday, September 10, 2014

APP LETTER: Gun background checks: Where is Smith’s support?

If you haven't seen it the following letter to the editor appeared yesterday in the Asbury Park Press. It raises a serious question about Middletown's other congressman, Chris Smith:

After hearing about the alarmingly high number of school shootings, 74 in 2014 alone, I decided to write a letter to my congressman, Chris Smith.

Smith has refused to co-sponsor a federal bill, H.R. 1565, for expanded background checks on firearms. This bill would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and I wanted to know why he hasn’t supported it publicly.

Smith’s office responded to my inquiry with an explanation, which included that he supported the Brady Handgun Bill in 1993. Thank you, Congressman, for supporting common sense in 1993, but what about now?

Due to NRA-influenced politicians, much of the Brady Bill has become irrelevant. So, by stating two decades-old support of the Brady bill, Smith’s response is also irrelevant.

What is relevant is that America leads developed nations in homicide by gun, suicide by gun, mass shootings, accidental death of children by gun, school shootings, and women shot by domestic abusers. Where is Smith’s current support for gun sense?

New Jersey gun laws are strong, but our neighboring states have weak laws and criminals go to those states to acquire weapons. New Jersey is the No. 1 importer of illegal guns in the nation.

These illegal guns ravage our cities, endanger our police, and are used to kill our civilians, as evidenced in recent events, including in Jersey City and West Orange this summer, as well as the Short Hills Mall shooting last holiday season. Federal law is important for New Jersey.

Smith should stop hiding behind what he did in 1993 because it has no impact on today.

Congressman Smith’s constituents overwhelmingly support expanded background checks on firearms. He should too.

Francee Tendler



Anonymous said...

I'd rather see the accounting and methodology for gun violence be more accurate and reflect the actual statistics. We should report this similar to Europe and the Commonwealth. If we did, 70% of our 'gun violence' would vanish so it's never gonna happen.

I'm more upset and concerned that more children are having children. That is the true travesty and crime today

Anonymous said...

The number 74 is misleading here is a link:
There is an instant background check in use now.

Michael Morris said...

Anon 9:51,

The stat may be misleading but it isn't wrong either as Politifacts noted. Every Town for Gun Safety used a broader definition of what a school shooting actually is.

I recommend reading Politifacts full explanation. Instead of a mostly false grade I would say it was either slightly false or slightly depending on whether you're a glass half empty or half full type of person.

Bottomline , gun violence is getting out of control an guns have no place at, in or near schools or college campuses unless they are being carried by law enforcement personnel.

Anonymous said...

There is an instant federal background check in all of America. Guns are smuggled into the country along with illegal drugs, for example the Chinese company Norinco is not allowed to sell any guns in the USA because they were caught more than once smuggling full auto Ak47s into the country.
Heroin is totally illegal in our nation there is no legal use for it in America, yet we have an epidemic of it in NJ.
More gun control laws won't work, we need to control those with mental illness.

Michael Morris said...

Anon 6:55,

Yes, that is why we need universal background checks to ensure that the mentally ill can't purchase or use handguns.

Anonymous said...

There are universal background checks. The problem is health records are treated as confidential. Most of the forms you sign when admitted to the hospital are about insurance a close 2nd are about releasing your medical records. If the police were to ask a doctor if a applicant seeking a gun permit has mental illness the doctor would be breaking the law to inform them. The right to privacy seems to trump common sense.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the Brady Bill is still working perfectly. Mike I am not sure you are aware of all the info regarding NICS checks. The N in NICS stands for NATIONAL. (

Last time I checked our neighboring states were part of the same NATION silly. The only loophole for the NICS check is a private seller selling to a private buyer, but even then most states require paperwork to do the transfer, like NJ does. I support having to go to a dealer to do private transfers as long as it was timely like the NICS checks currently are. I would also support having a database that physicians could enter people who in their clinical opinion pose a threat to themselves or others, but there would have to be strict criteria as that could be abused, and also a way to appeal a finding. I think those additions to current laws would be REASONABLE. I also disagree with NJ on CCW. Only royalty in NJ have CCW permits and most of them are "connected". Create a set of criteria, and if it is met, you shall be issued a CCW. This MAY issue is a device to keep legal firearms owners from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. I am sure the SCOTUS will be ruling on this soon as MOST of the country has SHALL ISSUE for CCW. NJ is the minority on this issue and 19 states stood behind the NJ citizen against NJ in the SCOTUS case that has yet to be heard.

The Supreme Court should have heard this case, and because it failed to do so, the Second Amendment now means one thing for responsible gun owners living in New Jersey and another thing for those living in other states.