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The NRA wants to Divide This Country

The National Rifle Association is advocating for armed guards at every school - this is horrible federal policy.

As we continue to mourn the deaths of the children brutally murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, the issue of gun violence is rightfully so in the mainstream.  

The National Rifle Association has a solution to gun violence - whether it is a member of Congress being shot at in Arizona, a school shooting in Connecticut or a mentally ill individual in a crowded shopping mall unloading his rifle - a solution of calling for armed guards at schools. I want to examine, why, as a nation, this is horrible federal public policy and just a sideshow distraction by a gun industry only interested in one thing: money.

The gun industry (like so many other corporate industries, whether its cigarettes, oil or defense),  has some of the most well-paid and powerful lobbyists in the country. Make no mistake about it, nobody is attacking anyone's 2nd Amendment rights. The gun lobby has a job to make it as easy as possible to make sure guns are easy to purchase, even if it is someone who fails a background check or is mentally unstable. They have one goal and that is to make sure gun manufacturers sell guns. You have an extreme group of the population that is 110% in support of the gun lobby, characterize this as an attack on the 2nd Amendment and want to make everything about that 'attack'. Fortunately, that is a fringe group in our country. Unfortunately, that fringe group can make a lot of noise.

The overwhelming majority of Americans can agree, that together, Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliateds should come together to stop illegal guns from getting into our cities. The overwhelming majority of murders in Newark and Camden are from illegal guns. That should be the primary focus. 

Second, the majority of Americans agree that if you are a law abiding citizen who so desires, you should be able to purchase a basic gun for self-protection. However, why should non-military and non-law enforcement folks be able to purchase an AK-47 or another type of gun? 

Third, background checks need to be enforced so that those who have a criminal record, or is an undocumented resident or is mentally unstable is unable to purchase any type of gun, period. Similar to how we penalize bar owners for serving alcohol to minors, the severest penalties need to be given to any gun shop owner or manufacturer who sells a gun to any of the above categories and more.

Together, these are 3 areas that a strong majority of Americans agree on and Congress and the President should enforce these areas to the strictest. We currently aren't even stopping illegal guns or those who are mentally unstable from purchasing a gun!

Putting tens of thousands of guns now in schools throughout the country with armed guards does nothing to solve the situation. What happens if more than one attacker comes into a school, like a Columbine, where they had an armed guard?

What happens if at a place like a police station, such as in South Jersey earlier this week, a gun is stolen from a police officer and three people are shot?

How is this plan financially feasible? Armed guards could cost up to $100,000 each and where does that end? Do we put armed guards whereever children are? Churches? Playgrounds? Public transportation? Shopping malls? Beaches? Where else? This is not Israel and we are not at war constantly fearful of an enemy about to bomb us. What is the psychological impact to students of having an armed guard at every school? Do you feel safer seeing guards at airports?

My point is simple...has this well-publicized plan thoroughly been discussed or analyzed before the National Rifle Association and right-wing extremist members of Congress announced this as the solution? Some on the far right compare this to 9/11 and air safety. We don't have air marshals on every flight and the threat of global jihadist terrorism is a lot different than a mentally ill 20 year old.

As a Democratic County Chairman, this is my view. I happen to agree with Republican Governor Chris Christie as he and I agree on why we should not have a federal policy of putting armed guards in schools. However, I don't take issue with any school district who believes they need an armed guard at a school.

The Democratic Party Mayor of Marlboro Jon Hornik, Democratic Council members and the elected Marlboro Board of Education came out strongly in favor of armed guards at the Marlboro Schools. I don't disagree with their decision because I don't have the same information or same knowledge as Mayor Hornik and the Board of Education has on what goes in the Marlboro schools.

In fact, I don't have an issue with any individual school district that chooses to do it. That is why there is an elected Board of Education who the people entrust to make those choices and local residents will evaluate if that is what’s best for the children in that town. Elected Board of Education members have information at hand regarding the safety of their district schools that the general public does not have. I am sure there are school systems in Newark and Jersey City that may have several armed guards working there. I do, however, take issue with a proposed NRA federal policy mandating that on all schools spend millions of dollars placing armed guards at every school district throughout the country.

At the end of the day, until we first address why those suffering from mental health illness are able to purchase guns, illegal guns in general and legislation preventing background checks, the situation will continue.

The extreme National Rifle Association is trying to divide this country and they are succeeding, by talking about armed guards as if that is the solution of gun violence. Thirty three people are dying every day due to gun violence, most of it illegal gun violence, and the policies advocated by the gun lobby are why this is happening.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Way January 10, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Is it not a worthwhile effort to explore what a comprehensive security plan would look like, one that may or may not include dedicated law enforcement or armed security in our schools, determine what that plan or plans would cost and then leave it to the community to decide if that is a worthy price to pay for a security plan that stands a better chance of saving lives than one whose cornerstone is turning off the lights, hiding in a corner or closet, and praying the gunman doesn't choose "our little barrel of fish" to go fishing in. You and I are not very far apart on this issue in principle Tony, that being "attempts to protect life trumps all in my book" as you said. We just seem to believe in different means to achieve that.
Robert Way January 11, 2013 at 04:11 PM
@Tony Orsin, in regard to your comment "My complaints are as follows: the NRA has NEVER brought any constructive ideas to the debate, now or ever. Their recent suggestion of armed guards at every school, assuming that's an effective fix, who will pay? Did they offer?", it seems they may have gotten the idea from somewhere else other than their own internal leadership..... Then President Clinton, one year post Columbine..... http://articles.latimes.com/2000/apr/16/news/mn-20323
S.G. January 12, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Your comments have touched on so many points that I will only mention a few. *An airplane's primary purpose is transportation. The primary purpose of a gun is to kill. *There are many interpretations of the Second Amendment. *The source of most illegal guns is not across borders, "...in 2009 ten states (Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia) supplied almost half the interstate-trafficked guns recovered at crime scenes. ..." - and - "...90% of the guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico are traced led back to American dealers..." For more gun sources: http://www.economist.com/node/17151375
Jim Kirk January 13, 2013 at 05:09 PM
RE: "marylou 4:50 pm on Monday, December 31, 2012 Robert,I am by no means an expert.People who shouldn't be allowed to own guns,IMO,the mentally ill,visually impaired,anyone who has ever been convicted of a violent crime.True,if they want a gun,they'll get 1,but let's not make it easy for them. What I also take issue with is the new breed of gun nuts who think guns solve all problems." marylou -- You are right, you ARE NO EXPERT. You have no idea what you're talking about. 1) To purchase and/or own firearms in New Jersey you must: * Apply through your local police department and pay nominal admin fee. * Get fingerprinted for the NJ State Police and the FBI. * Obtain 100% verifiable references that are checked out by your local police, state police and the FBI. * Wait several weeks for all background checks to be cleared. * If you apply for a hand gun, you are only allowed 2 or 3 permits at a time to purchase (estate inheritances are handled case-by-case). * Even once you are cleared by the federal and state agencies, your local police chief may turn down the application if something doesn't add up. * Every time you go to purchase a hand gun in NJ, you have to repeat the application process all over again. Don't believe me: http://www.njsp.org/faq.html Now...what were you saying about owning firearms being "easy" in NJ???
Jim Kirk January 13, 2013 at 11:50 PM
If the Left Wing is so set on being victims, LET THEM renounce their Second Amendment rights -- I for one will not follow them, or the HYPOCRITES at the top of the Left Wing Anti-Second Amendment cabal. Look at Senator Dianne Feinstein! This HYPOCRITE: * Has a CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT * Owns firearms * Has ARMED GUARDS protecting her * Works in a building that is protected protected by ARMED Capitol police; is lined with metal detectors/screeners; etc. So, while this woman lives a 100% PROTECTED LIFE, she expects the citizens to roll the dice and take their chances. I'll disarm the day the HYPOCRITES from the Left Wing totally disarm. Let Mayor Bloomberg walk about New York City without the armed detail that carries FULL AUTO SUB-MACHINE GUNS as he travels in an ARMORED LIMO. Note to Left Wing Liberals that want me to surrender my Bill of Rights -- in the words of General Anthony Clement McAuliffe to the Nazis: "NUTS!"

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