Take it from a resident; New Jersey is anti-freedom and it’s one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the Union. There’s a conspiracy of sorts between all branches of government and the media here; a conspiracy of conformity when it comes to the portrayal of firerarms, ammunition, or accessories. Any chance they get, they will paint the most grotesque or negative picture they can, in order to push their anti-gun ideology.
A recent case in point; Paterson, New Jersey, October 28, 2020, when the local Daily Voice newspaper reported in a headline:
“Paterson PD: Boy, 15, Caught Carrying Pair Of High-Powered Handguns, Magazines, More”
Even at first glance, there is no doubt that this is involving criminal behavior, but that behavior does not let the Paterson PD or the Daily Voice off the hook as far as unbiased reporting goes. With scary descriptions like “high-powered handguns”, the paper is going out of its way to vilify the inanimate object, without casting any aspersions at all on the young criminal suspect.
“A 15-year-old Paterson boy was caught carrying two handguns with large-capacity magazines, authorities said.”
“Both are 9mm semi-automatic Taurus handguns fitted with fully-loaded high-capacity magazines…”
These biases and optics are carefully crafted and it’s important to take note. The media does everything and anything in their power to associate firearms with a further, often times erroneous, negative connotation.
Granted, this news article was probably breezed over by many, as its tale is a dog-bites-man kind of story; just another criminal doing criminal things in New Jersey. But that begs another question; why are 15-year old’s running around with guns in Paterson, New Jersey? What is going on there? New Jersey has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, but a 15-year old can apparently easily arm himself despite all those gun control laws on the books. Sounds like the leadership in Paterson (and the state capitol of Trenton) need to be approached about what is going wrong.
The negative optics in this piece revolve around considering 9mm handguns to be “high-powered”, as the headline tries to hook in uninitiated readers. No place on the planet are 9mm Taurus handguns in any way “high-powered”. Okay, if you’re comparing them to BB guns, also “firearms” in New Jersey, sure. But to every other freedom loving gun owner in America, no. This labeling of the arms as “high-powered” is patently fake, phony, and false, and it’s designed to instill fear rather than disseminate facts.
It’s also worth exploring the “high-capacity” magazines the paper references. It’s doubtful that a 15-year old that was illegally concealing two pistols was able to do so with true “high-capacity” magazines in the guns, because they’d be too long. In New Jersey, however anything over ten rounds is considered “high-capacity”; another bit of anti-gun wordsmithing that ignores the fact that ten rounds is below the threshold of standard capacity in many pistols in the United States. Often magazines with a capacity of 15 or 17+ rounds are considered“standard.” In this case, we don’t even know how large the magazines actually were, only that they were illegal under New Jersey law.
The sad thing is that I doubt the reporter or editor ever even considered the bias in their story. At this point, anti-gun attitudes are so ingrained in the culture in New Jersey that it probably never even registered with them that, instead of this being just another story about a teenager who had a gun that he shouldn’t have, it could have been a story about how and why idiot 15-year olds can still easily thwart New Jersey’s gun control laws, and what that says about the effectiveness of those laws in stopping crimes, as opposed to preventing the lawful exercise of our right to keep and bear arms.
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of “Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use” and NRA certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii