PASSAIC COUNTY - On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted in support of a resolution advocating for stricter firearm regulations and calling upon elected officials at the State and Federal level to support tougher regulations. The Parkland, Florida school shooting is another reminder that the U.S. has yet to tackle the issue of gun violence, where rates of gun related fatalities are far greater than any other developed country. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 96 Americans are killed with guns daily, including seven children and teens. Approximately 100,000 Americans are the victims of gun violence every year.
“As a former teacher, I witnessed the transition where active shooter drills became as commonplace as fire drills in our schools,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara.“Mass shootings often get disproportionate media attention compared to the dozens of men, women, and children killed every day by gun violence, but that does not lessen the tragedy or our responsibility to protect our citizens.”
While the right to bear arms is protected under the second amendment, the 2010 case Crespo v. Crespo (N.J 2010), found that “the right to possess firearms clearly may be subject to reasonable limitations.” The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders specifically called upon State and Federal lawmakers to restrict the availability of semi-automatic weapons of mass destruction, require mandatory background checks, require gun owners to receive gun safety training, strengthen regulations on gun transfers and “junk” guns, keep guns out of the hands of those suffering a mental illness, and monitor the sale of all firearms.
“Regulations on firearms are measurable, and States that have enacted tougher gun regulations have seen a decline in firearm related fatalities without negatively impacting responsible gun owners,” said Freeholder Assad Akhter, who chairs the Law and Public Safety Committee. “Common sense gun control is supported by an uncommonly high percentage of voters, including a majority of gun owners. Yet it somehow remains one of the most controversial policy points in Washington. We cannot continue to allow our law enforcement officers to be outgunned and the American people to be terrorized by assault weapons and the unregulated use of firearms in our nation.
Despite the growing trend in support for more effective firearm regulations, Washington D.C. has moved in the opposite direction. Last year, President Trump signed a bill blocking an Obama-era policy that toughened regulations for background checks for people with mental illness, people on the terror-watch list can still purchase a firearm, and no background checks are conducted by unlicensed sellers or during gun shows. In addition, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders strongly opposes any State or Federal Law that minimizes these restrictions, especially regarding out-of-state carrying permits, which would force States to accept the fewest restrictions imposed by another State.
“Despite the actions of other lawmakers, the Passaic County Freeholders are committed to protecting our citizens from all types of violence,” added Director Lazzara.