Anti-gun voices in New Jersey try to spin gun control's failure

Anti-gun voices in New Jersey try to spin gun control's failure
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The state of New Jersey is not exactly friendly toward gun ownership and hasn’t been at any point in living memory. Lawmakers there don’t see the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny but as an obstacle that needs to be bypassed.


And that’s never a good thing.

However, has their push for gun control worked? The recent shooting deaths of two New Jersey local lawmakers – deaths that are reportedly unrelated – have many arguing that this is proof that gun control in the state just doesn’t work as advertised.

Now, the spin begins.

Less than two months after sweeping gun reform limited where guns could be carried in New Jersey, multiple headline-grabbing shootings — including two that resulted in the deaths of local elected officials — have shown the limits of policies designed to tamp down gun violence.

Critics of the Murphy administration’s ever-tightening gun laws say the recent shootings provide further evidence that government cannot legislate criminal behavior, the overwhelming source of New Jersey’s gun violence.

But while the recent incidents have drawn attention, they aren’t proof that legislation isn’t working, experts and advocates say. The new laws focus primarily on limiting the places people are allowed to carry guns legally. It isn’t clear whether the guns used in the separate killings of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour and Milford Councilman Russell D. Heller were obtained legally. Neither of the places where these shootings occurred was restricted under the new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“Any policy designed to address a specific form of violence is intended to diminish the impact of that form of violence, not eradicate it,” said Michael Anestis, executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University. “By creating an environment in which people are less likely to carry firearms in specific places, we lower the odds of firearm injury and death, but we do not lower them to zero.”


Anestis, of course, is one of the so-called experts brought in to refute claims that these deaths prove gun control doesn’t work.

However, as the article notes, neither of these fatalities happened in a place that would be off-limits under the new law. In fact, there were surprisingly few incidents in any of these off-limits places prior to the law’s passage.

When they did occur, though, they were generally associated with some other crime that was not stopped by the law.

Further, those who wish to break the law will continue to do so regardless of whether or not the law permits carry in those places. The only ones prevented from carrying are those who are law-abiding in the first place. A gun-free zone sign has never stopped a criminal, but it’s stopped plenty of armed citizens who might have prevented the crime from happening.

For an expert, Anestis doesn’t seem to grok with criminal behavior, does he?

Of course, I also find it funny how the media never bothers seeking experts who disagree with the anti-gun narrative. They exist, of course, and we’ve seen numerous examples. John Lott, for example, has tons of data showing just how inane these measures are. Why isn’t he included in these discussions?

See, people like Anestis aren’t experts. They’re advocates in experts’ clothing. They pretend to be experts, but they almost universally push gun control measures. At no point do they ever seem to say, “Well, the data shows that law didn’t work.” There’s not a single instance that I can recall where someone from one of these anti-gun “centers” seems to argue that a gun control law is a bad idea.


Instead, they provide cover for when gun control laws don’t work, and the failure to do so is put on display for the entire world to see.

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