Carol Bowne’s death deserves national attention. Late Wednesday night, outside her Berlin, NJ home, 39 year old Bowne was brutally stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend. As senseless as this tragedy is, it is even more tragic knowing that Bowne had applied for a firearms permit in an effort to defend herself. Not days, not weeks, but MONTHS prior to her death.

Certainly, Bowne’s death is a tragedy and she is only one of the many Americans wishing to protect themselves with a firearm, only to be left defenseless in their time of need. Bowne knew the restraining order she was granted on her ex-boyfriend, 45 year old suspect Michael Eitel, was only a piece of paper and would not protect her if he chose not to abide by it, which was the case on the night of her untimely death.

New Jersey is one of the worst states for gun owners and Bowne’s murder is further evidence that not only do state laws need to be fixed and processes need to be more efficient, but also that better reciprocity laws are needed nationwide. Although New Jersey state criminal code requires applications be granted within 30 days, Bowne was unable to defend herself with the firearm she wanted, and needed, to carry.

The fact that Carol Bowne had checked the status of her firearms permit only two short days before her murder shows exactly what is wrong with NJ gun laws. Why was she following up on this and not the recipient of the application? No one should be left defenseless. The fact of the matter is, if she had been able to carry a firearm, she would have at least given herself a fighting chance, which was exactly what she was attempting to do. Carol wanted to exercise what we know is a Constitutional right: to own our self defense and not have to rely on anyone for our personal safety. She did the right thing, she followed the law, and that failed her greatly.

I think the nation is turning a blind eye to her story because it would force them to admit the truth; that while individuals have the right to self defense, Americans are still left defenseless due to strict gun laws, poor firearms permit application processes, and crippling reciprocity laws. Carol Bowne should have had the opportunity to defend herself, but the government and state of New Jersey sat on her right to keep and bear arms, thus allowing her tragic and senseless death.

While her death is a tragedy, the lack of national attention her story has gotten only deepens the hurt of her senseless murder. We should all stand up and refuse to allow another case like hers to take place. We are the watchmen. Our duty is not only to protect ourselves and those around us, but to stand tall and speak loudly for all victims like Carol Bowne, in an effort to ensure every individual looking to legally defend themselves with a firearm is not ignored, but granted the opportunity of a fighting chance.