N.J. gun owners are right: We’ve got to fight illegal firearms

N.J. gun owners are right: We've got to fight illegal firearms

One of the core complaints from the gun-rights crowd about the reform efforts of our lawmakers is that they don’t address the main problem, which is illegal guns. This is true. New Jersey has tough gun laws on the books, and the loopholes that do exist are likely to be fixed now that Gov. Chris Christie has left the stage. But this does little about the black market, where most criminals get their guns illegally. Scott Bach, an NRA member and head of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, argues the answer is tougher penalties for the criminal misuse of firearms. Yet New Jersey already has some of the strongest criminal penalties out there, and they don’t make up for the leniency of other states. Smugglers buy their guns where laws are lax. Of the hundreds of crime guns recovered in New Jersey during the first three months of this year, 77 percent were purchased out of state, a new report found. Pennsylvania was the single largest source. Just this month, New Jersey cops arrested a Pennsylvania man for trying to sell an AK-47 rifle, three AR-15 rifles, high-capacity magazines and more than 100 rounds of ammunition to buyers here. Many more evade detection. Traffickers buy from unscrupulous dealers; the equivalent of a liquor store selling cases of beer to minors. Some use a straw purchaser with a clean record, like a girlfriend. To fight this, we can’t rely on Washington. As our hearts break again […]

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