BLOOMFIELD – Democrats are convinced that here in New Jersey, they’re going to win an election over guns.
The state has among the strictest gun control measures in the union and most residents seem to like that. After all, Democrats control all aspects of state government.
So it was no surprise that Gov. Phil Murphy today joined a slew of Democratic officials on all levels outside the city’s library for a rally to promote gun safety measures.
As mentioned, state laws are quite strong now. It’s debatable how much stronger they can realistically be, but the governor without being specific said he wants to try.
“We will endeavor to do that,” Murphy said.
About 200 or so people were in the audience and the governor was joined on the podium by, among others, Reps. Donald Payne Jr. and Mikie Sherrill, Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, who trekked up from south Jersey, and Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland, Fla. mass shooting in 2018.
More than an outing to show support for gun laws, this was a time to slam Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, who has questioned some of the state’s gun regulations.
“We don’t want to go backward on this issue,” said Greenwald. contending that when it comes to guns, Ciattarelli may turn the state into Florida or South Dakota.
Those states are not normally mentioned in the same breath, but both have outspoken Republican governors.
Those following this campaign know that Republicans often criticize Murphy for allegedly wanting to turn New Jersey into California. Now Democrats have their own states to play with.
Murphy joined in on the criticism, saying that Ciattarelli wants to make it easier for people in certain professions to carry concealed weapons. One of those professions is Realtor.
“You would have to tell me what the heck that means,” Murphy said.
During a town hall meeting Tuesday in Kenilworth, Ciattarelli said such protection may be needed because some Realtors have told him they feel uneasy spending hours at a time alone in empty houses.
As an overview, it’s very difficult for an average person to get legal clearance to carry a concealed weapon in New Jersey.
Sherrill, who brought up her experience as a federal prosecutor, said the problem with getting guns off the street is that so many of them come from out of state – places with far more lenient laws.
House Democrats have long advocated for such things as universal background checks, but to no avail. Such measures fail in the Senate.
When it comes to guns, Sherrill said the country would be better off if it was more like New Jersey.
Guttenberg, who has become a gun control activist after his daughter’s slaying, applauded Murphy’s strong stance on gun laws, calling him the best governor in the country.
Guttenberg, who referred to his Jewish heritage, then gave Murphy what is perhaps a higher compliment.
“You’re just a mensch,” he said.