Do know if any of you guys had a chance to read this.
Assault weapons ban dies; N.J. has its own
Local officials decry federal law's demise
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By Michaelangelo Conte
Journal staff writer
Yesterday's expiration of the federal ban against assault weapons triggered point-blank criticism of lawmakers by Hudson County law enforcement officials who see return of the weapons to the streets as a threat to kids, cops and average citizens alike.
The 1994 ban, signed by President Clinton, outlawed 19 types of military-style assault weapons - guns capable of firing up to hundreds of rounds per minute and firing them farther than rifles or handguns - but included a clause directing that the ban expire unless Congress specifically reauthorized it.
But on the same day the federal ban ended, Gov. James E. McGreevey signed an executive order creating a task force to look into legislative and legal ways to keep assault weapons off the streets of New Jersey.
While Republican leaders in Congress said there has been no public call for renewing the law, McGreevey, a Democrat, characterized the inaction as an abandonment of police officers who must confront criminals armed with the powerful weapons.
Hudson County Sheriff Joseph Cassidy yesterday shared McGreevey's sentiments, blasting President George W. Bush for allowing the ban to expire.
"For a guy who is supposed to be so opposed to terrorists, allowing assault weapons to be placed in the hands of people is a tragedy," he said.
"It's about being pressured by the NRA to allow this assault weapons ban to lapse and him not having the guts to allow the ban to be permanent. I'm not saying there are no assault weapons out there now, but the ban has saved lives. I am very upset about this."
Cassidy said local, county and state law enforcement organizations oppose the ban's demise. National police organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the Fraternal Order of Police all support renewal of the ban.
However, studies have shown conflicting results on whether the ban helped reduce crime and loopholes have allowed manufacturers to keep many weapons on the market.
New Jersey's ban on assault weapons, enacted in 1990, is not affected by the lapse of the federal law, which allows sales of the weapons to resume.
New Jersey's law also limits the magazines, or clips that hold bullets for guns, to 15 rounds. The expiration of the federal law also ended a limit of 10-round magazines for semiautomatic weapons.
However, state officials are worried that the banned guns and ammunition will now be easily available to criminals who can buy them in neighboring states. Only six other states ban the sale of assault weapons.
Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio, who is the county's highest law enforcement official, said yesterday that he believes assault weapons have "absolutely no place" in an ordered society. Such weapons include the AK-47 assault rifle and Uzi submachine gun.
"I, quite frankly, believe that any right-thinking person should be upset about the expiration of the assault weapons ban, especially those of us that live in an urban environment," he said.
"They haven't been a very big problem thanks to the ban. Why should we take the risk and perhaps see them become a big problem in the future? Why should we increase the risk of weapons of this type falling into the hands of any sort of terrorist? These types of weapons are strictly made as killing machines."
The prosecutor said he vividly remembers film footage of a 1997 Los Angeles robbery in which the two criminals, protected by body armor and armed with assault rifles, were able to hold off police forces.
"That happened after the ban was in effect, but it is a very good example of the destructive power of these weapons," DeFazio said.
Jersey City Police Director Sam Jefferson said he got hands-on experience with assault weapons while serving in Vietnam. He argued that the battlefield is the only place the weapons belong.
"Now that these weapons are coming back, they will be the weapon of choice of drug dealers and anyone else who wants to commit a crime," Jefferson said. "They wreaked havoc on our whole society and our cops don't need these weapons on the streets again. We had a hard time getting them off the street, and I can see that down the line we are gong to have trouble again."
Jefferson said he is most worried about smaller assault weapons like the Uzi, Tech-9 and Mack-10, which are easily concealed.
Jefferson said "It's breathtaking to even hear these weapons go off, and the result is no good."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
McGreedy STEP fucking down already - where are the lawyers now, get his ass OUT!
Another one from the Asbury Park Press today.
U.S. assault-gun ban's demise a worry in N.J.
Published in the Asbury Park Press 9/14/04
By LILO H. STAINTON
GANNETT STATE BUREAU
HAMILTON -- As the federal ban on assault weapons expired yesterday, Gov. McGreevey voiced concern that New Jersey could be flooded with high-powered guns -- despite a state prohibition -- and created a commission to plug potential border leaks.
"These weapons are insane. . . . for one purpose only, and that is to kill," McGreevey told reporters, law enforcement and gun-control advocates gathered at the State Police forensic laboratory outside Trenton. "We have an obligation to make sure these weapons are taken off the street."
The state ban on assault weapons signed in 1990 by Gov. James J. Florio, considered among the nation's toughest, still makes it illegal to purchase or possess any of nearly 50 types of high-powered semiautomatic guns or rifles, State Police Sgt. Kevin Rehmann said.
But McGreevey and others fear that despite New Jersey's law, lifting the decade-old federal ban signed by President Clinton in 1994 will increase the flow of black-market guns to the Garden State.
"That's always the case -- New Jersey is a leader in gun control," said Ceasefire New Jersey Executive Director Bryan Miller, whose brother, an FBI agent, was killed by shots from a MAC-10 in November 1994.
Two years ago, McGreevey signed the nation's first "smart gun" law, which requires that -- once the technology is developed -- all guns sold in the state must have personal identifiers preventing them from being fired by anyone except their registered owners.
New Jersey is one of seven states with bans on assault weapons.
Democratic legislative leaders, including Senate President Richard J. Codey -- who will replace McGreevey as acting governor after his Nov. 15 resignation -- have joined with Florio to call on Congress to continue the federal ban.
NRA downplays danger
But gun-control opponents, like Richard Miller of the Coalition of New Jersey Sportsmen, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, said eliminating the federal ban will not increase gun violence.
"It's not going to have an impact on crime. Criminals don't go into gun stores and buy guns," Miller said. "Even if you ban them, they're going to get them."
Law-enforcement officials have concluded that boosting the availability of legal guns in the country will also raise the number of weapons that end up in criminal hands. Semiautomatic assault weapons are the guns of choice for drug runners and gangs, police said. The power of the guns -- firing up to 100 bullets a minute, as far as six football fields -- makes enforcing the law far more dangerous, they said.
"I know you are going to see more violence. And you are going to see more death," warned Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. Bullets from these weapons can pierce the half-inch-thick Kevlar vests police wear for protection, Harvey said.
FBI data show that one in five police officers killed in the line of duty is shot with an assault weapon, the McGreevey administration said. From May 1990, when the state ban took effect, to October 2003, there were 1,219 gun crimes with an assault weapon.
"This renders the police very, very vulnerable," said State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes. The change is alarming to local police forces, added Morris Plains Police Chief Douglas Scherzer, president of the state chiefs' association.
Task force's mission
The executive order McGreevey signed yesterday directs Harvey to convene a task force of law enforcement officials that Harvey said will work with government leaders in other states to try to curb the illegal gun trade. The commission will also reach out to gun dealers, Harvey said, and could target those that sell to New Jersey residents with litigation.
But Richard Miller, the gun control opponent, questioned the need for a study commission. He also said that, in some parts of the country, assault weapons are used by hunters and target clubs.
"There's no gun shop in another state that's going to risk their license selling a gun to a New Jersey resident," he said. "You can't paint gun laws with such a broad brush."
Gun-control advocates such as Carole Stiller of Ewing, presi-dent of the state's Million Mom March council, don't want to take that chance. She said more than 100,000 children bring weapons to school daily and that assault weapons were used in the 1999 student massacre at Columbine High School in Col-orado.
"We know those kids will just have to have one better. And that's an assault weapon," Still-er said.
The Million Mom March orga-nization lobbied Congress with thousands of cards and e-mailed more than a half-mil-lion signatures calling for the extension to the Bush adminis-tration, she said.
"As of tonight, this law just dis-appears," Stiller said. "I still hope to wake up tomorrow and realize it was all a bad dream."
Why can't these asshat politicians grasp the simple fact that criminals are criminals because THEY DO NOT OBEY LAWS!