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Arrests in deadly N.J. mall carjacking that gun laws didn’t prevent

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Four men have been arrested last night and this morning in connection with last Sunday’s deadly New Jersey mall carjacking that could become yet another launch pad for gun control in a state already drowning in anti-gun regulations.

New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, but no death penalty. None of those gun laws seem to have worked to stop a senseless killing.

Charges of murder, felony murder, conspiracy and weapons violations could be filed against Karif Ford, Basim Henry and Kevin Roberts, all of Newark, and Hanif Thompson of Irvington in connection with the brutal slaying of Dustin Friedland. The 30-year-old Friedland was viciously shot dead in front of his wife last Sunday at the upscale Mall at Short Hills, apparently for his Range Rover.

The four suspects are each being held on $2 million bail, according to various published reports.

Earlier this week, national Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea argued that New Jersey’s gun laws are at least partly at fault for Mr. Friedland’s slaying. Laws that keep law-abiding citizens disarmed while obviously not keeping guns out of the hands of criminals have not been shown to prevent a single crime.

The odds are pretty good that none of the suspects could legally carry a handgun in New Jersey, since it is very difficult for any average Garden State citizen to get a carry permit. As this column noted earlier, Washington citizens are not so encumbered, and the number of concealed carry licenses has hit nearly 449,000. It remains for the justice system in New Jersey to determine their guilt or innocence, and almost certainly all of the facts have yet to be sorted out.

What happened to Friedland, an attorney, should not happen to anyone, and crimes like that typically stir a national debate about the ineffectiveness of restrictive gun laws versus the desire to adopt even tougher gun laws. By all accounts, Mr. Friedland was a good man, well-liked and respected in his community. His funeral was Wednesday.

None of the suspects has been formally arraigned, but they’re not likely to be going anywhere.

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