Skip to comments.N.J. legislators explain opposition to bill keeping guns from suspected terrorists
Posted on 02/16/2013 4:30:19 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Erik Peterson remembers driving his wifes car and getting pulled over.
Police driving behind the New Jersey assemblyman ran the license plate and found out the car belonged to Jenny Peterson. The legislators wife didnt have warrants out on her, but someone with the same name did.
The legislator proved that he wasnt Jenny Peterson and his wife wasn't the woman police were looking for, and the police let him go.
The Republican, whose 23rd Legislative District covers parts of Warren and Hunterdon counties, used that anecdote to help explain why he wouldn't back a gun-control measure voted on Wednesday in Trenton. The bill passed an Assembly panel anyway and would block suspected terrorists from owning guns in New Jersey.
He said the bill doesnt provide enough opportunities for a person misidentified as a terrorist to clear his or her name and legally get a gun. He said it would be like automatically going to jail if someone with your name has warrants.
Under this bill, Jenny Peterson gets pulled over and she goes to jail, period. Even if you can prove youre not Jenny Peterson, youre guilty, Peterson told The Express-Times.
He and the two other New Jersey legislators who didnt back the measure explained their thinking Thursday.
Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Sean Kean, both Republicans, voted against the bill Wednesday when it came before the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. Peterson abstained. Seven Democrats moved the bill to the full Assembly in a 7-2 vote.
Peterson, McHose and Kean each expressed low confidence in the accuracy of the secret watch list and concerns that innocent people could be denied constitutional rights.
Published reports of the vote said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the Union County Democrat who sponsored the bill, was flabbergasted by the lack of Republican support for a commonsense measure.
But the Republicans said they're being extra careful because the bill proposes taking away civil liberties.
My husband is in the U.S. Army and was deployed twice in the war on terror, but I have real concerns about this so-called terrorist watch list and the use of it to take away constitutionally protected rights, McHose, whose 24th District includes parts of Warren County, said in a written statement.
Kean told The Star-Ledger that he voted the way he did because he doubted the bill would have any effect -- What terrorist is going to apply for a firearm? -- and was skeptical about the terror watch list: The bottom line is, does anybody know what this list is, and who keeps this list?
The newspaper also reported Kean had changed his mind by Thursday morning and that he plans to approve the bill when it comes to a vote on the Assembly floor.
Peterson said he would vote for the bill if it provided more opportunity for people misidentified as terrorists to clear their names.
The bill does say anyone denied a permit can request a hearing in New Jersey Superior Court.
But Peterson said he proposed a process for the New Jersey State Police superintendent to vet people who are denied permits, a provision that wasnt included in the bill.
I think the intent of having terrorists not being able to get a gun card is a valid one. However, we shouldnt be depriving people of their rights, he said.
SLEW OF GUN-CONTROL BILLS
Assembly Bill A3687, disqualifying anyone named on a federal terrorist watch list from obtaining a firearms identification card or permit to purchase a handgun, was one of 17 gun-control bills approved Wednesday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and moved to the full Assembly for votes scheduled Thursday.
Note the suddenly ubiquitous description of the bill as “common sense” gun control. This edict is coming straight from the White House fax machine as usual.
I agree with the “no” voters — we’ve heard tales of No-Fly List screw-ups for years; something riddled with that many false positives cannot be the basis for automatic elimination of a Constitutional right.
Let’s not forget they can always change just exactly who is considered a terrorist.
Had that fertilizer car bomb gone off in NYC a few years ago, everyone associated with the TEA Party would today be considered a terrorist threat.
The party that had trouble defining the word “is” wants to define a big boy word like terrorist? Pass.
You and me both.
The party of the KKK and Weather Underground is the last bunch that should be determining just who is and who isn’t a terrorist.
Good point. Are Ayers and Dorn, both known Weather Underground terrorists, on the terror watch list?
Not unless you call the WH guest list a terrorist list.