New Jersey is one of the most anti-gun states in the nation. Its laws are extensive and foreboding, and it vigorously enforces those laws as best as it can, including prosecuting people who are just driving through despite federal law.
And yet, those laws are doing little to nothing to curb gun violence in the state. Shocking, I know.
Now, a group of activists is demanding federal laws change because of a local problem.
An end to gang violence in Jersey City. The passage of “common sense” gun control legislation in the U.S. Congress. An increase in funding for education. More attention on the violence that has plagued the south side of the city. Less attention on the criminal histories of some of the victims.
The broad list of potential solutions to Jersey City’s violence problem came three days after a shooting at the Newport mall left panicked shoppers hiding inside stores, and five days after a daytime shooting on Grant Avenue led to lockdowns at three schools. City officials believe the shootings are connected and gang-related. On Monday morning shots were fired on Rose Avenue, though no one appeared to be struck.
I’m sympathetic to the problem.
But it’s a local problem that requires a local solution. Federal gun laws that mimic New Jersey’s overly-restrictive regulations aren’t going to happen and for good reason.
For one, they don’t work. The fact that people felt the need to hold a demonstration is proof that gun laws don’t work. They’ve never worked.
Plus, even if they worked in New Jersey, they wouldn’t necessarily be the answer elsewhere. The idea that a solution for New Jersey works in Alabama is hubris at best.
I’m not about to say that there’s not a problem in New Jersey, but that problem has roots that run deeper than whether they can get their hands on guns despite laws meant to disarm them. They’re always going to get guns — the moment you accept that you can start looking at real solutions. You can start figuring out how to keep people from joining gangs in the first place. You can start looking at how to encourage people to leave them. You can start working to undermine the culture that encourages young men to go out and get involved in this in the first place.
You can change the problem completely.
All without a single gun law.
The problem is, some people don’t get that guns are nothing more than a tool. They can be misused, but they’re not the problem. People are and always have been the problem. The moment you understand that and accept it, the easier it can be to stop blaming tools with no mind of their own and start working toward real, effective answers.
The question is, does anyone spouting this in New Jersey have the will to do it?