With tongue planted only partly in cheek yesterday, the head of one of the nation’s leading gun rights organizations offered a suggestion to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is looking at slashing state pensions while Democrats in the Legislature are eyeballing tax hikes to solve a monstrous projected budget shortfall.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, says the answer is simple. Change Draconian state gun laws to make New Jersey friendlier to gun owners and gun businesses, was his recommendation. One could almost hear they eyeballs roll in Trenton. It got some chuckles on SAF's Facebook page.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Christie “he will slash the state's contributions to its public pensions by nearly 60 percent, or $2.3 billion, for this and next fiscal year combined in order to close a large, unexpected revenue shortfall.” The story also said Democrats are looking at a tax hike on “high earners.” Democrats, who control the legislature, created the budget mess, and they are also responsible for pushing increasingly strict gun laws.
Gottlieb simply could not resist pushing back by arguing that these policies are chasing taxpayers out of the state and preventing gun-related businesses from moving there. He was not too polite in the process, either.
“Many New Jersey gun owners are moving out of state to start new lives where there are ten amendments in the Bill of Rights,” he commented in a press release. “Gun manufacturing companies won’t go near the place as they plan their moves from other anti-gun gulags like neighboring New York, because New Jersey lawmakers have made their state just as toxic.”
“If New Jersey were friendlier toward gun owners,” he continued, “the state might be able to attract lots more tourists to such places as the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City. But firearms rights activists refuse to enter the state. It’s not an organized boycott, but in many ways, it might just as well be.”
In a state made famous, or infamous, depending upon one’s viewpoint, by television series including “The Sopranos” (about organized crime) and “Jersey Shore” (about disorganized stupidity), law-abiding gun owners have complained for years about being treated like criminals and idiots. All of that fame did not lead to fortune for state coffers, and now there is a projected shortfall of $2.75 billion.
“New Jersey lawmakers better snap to and accept the notion that law-abiding gun owners should not be treated like criminals,” Gottlieb contended. “But while this treatment continues, their brother and sister gun owners from other states will treat the Garden State like a noxious weed patch, spending their money elsewhere.”
Buried beneath the sarcasm is Gottlieb’s disappointment that the U.S. Supreme Court recently turned down a petition for review of the Garden State’s arbitrary concealed carry permitting scheme in Drake v. Jerejian. This was a case that, if decided correctly, could have nullified so-called “discretionary issue” permitting laws in Maryland, New York and elsewhere, leaving many in the firearms community convinced the high court is afraid to take a case they know will have that kind of result on government capriciousness.
Because New Jersey’s Legislature is controlled by anti-gun Democrats, it is not likely any serious attention will be paid to Gottlieb’s suggestions. Perhaps if the state goes bankrupt, public opinion will force a change in control, and then maybe a rollback of regulations could begin.