A Real Solution to Self Defense in New JerseyPosted by mjm0771, October 09, 2008 10:22AM

Over the past 5 years we have all become aware of the senseless violence and terrorism that has happened in gun free zones across the United States, (Virginia Tech, Westroads Mall in Omaha Nebraska, Northern Illinois University, Columbine to name only a few). These shootings always seem to happen where the criminal feels comfortable knowing that his intended victim(s) do not have an effective way to defend themselves. After learning about each of these horrible events, I remembered thinking, "That's a real tragedy, but I am glad those kinds of things don't happen around here." On July 25, 2007 11:30pm it happened in front of my home with my wife and children in the next room. I witnessed a robbery and assault of two people in which the criminal was armed. After that incident, I suddenly realized that my wife and I could not adequately, and legally, defend ourselves if that happened to us outside our home. From the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean, from Colesville to Cape May, I have concluded that New Jersey is one very large Gun Free Zone. That thought disturbs me very much.

One can argue, if I'm suddenly faced with that kind of emergency, I should call 911. Although this is what would ultimately happen anyway, I find one major issue with that. The 911 operator would not be able help me save the lives of myself or my family if we were face to face with a violent criminal with a weapon. I have the utmost respect and admiration of all police officers, but when seconds count, the police are minutes away. Even the best police departments in the country cannot respond to a violent crime as it is taking place to stop it.

The "right-to-carry" can serve as a significant deterrent to crime. An analysis of the nation's 37 "right-to-carry" states has revealed a significant reduction in crime in those states compared with the national average. This is because the population of law-abiding citizens in those states who may be carrying a firearm force the robbers, rapists, and murderers to take a moment of pause before committing their acts, and in most cases prevents these types of crimes from happening in the first place.

Currently, it is virtually impossible for the average citizen to get a permit for carrying a concealed weapon in New Jersey . Only active (non-retired) police officers can open carry and those that can prove to the Supreme Court in Trenton that he or she has a "justifiable need" can get a permit for concealed carry. The court's interpretation of what constitutes a "justifiable need" makes it almost impossible for any normal law-abiding citizen of New Jersey to obtain the permit for self defense.

But I believe there is hope for freedom for those who want it. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R) has sponsored a bill (A1282) that would revise the procedure for obtaining a permit to carry a firearm for the purpose of self defense. This bill would make it possible for qualified persons who do not have a criminal history to carry their firearm for personal defense.

There are some who may call me paranoid, whereas I believe it is a simple matter of preparedness. There are thousands of people in the Garden State who prepare for natural disasters. But how many people prepare themselves for a personal catastrophe such as a home invasion, an assault, or a rape? There are many citizens of New Jersey who want to prepare for that but are prohibited from doing so by NJ state law.

If you are concerned about your constitutional right to defend yourself from violent criminals, then contact your local and state elected officials, make your voice heard and respectfully urge them to support A1282.