Trenton, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- In a front page article in this past Thursday’s Gloucester County Times, Gov Christie, speaking to an audience in Voorhee’s regarding his recent proposal of a 10 percent across the board tax cut, acknowledged “the fact is, there’s a lot of waste in government to be ferreted out over time.”
Of course, he’s right about this, and everyone knows it. It is certainly admirable to look under every rock and examine every State program to find and identify area’s where the State can be more fiscally prudent with the Taxpayers money, especially in the most heavily taxed and expensive to live in State in the Country.
So, in the spirit of saving money, here is a suggestion for the Governor. Take the lead on calling for the elimination of NJ’s ridiculous Firearms ID Card requirement and the mandate that the NJ State Police Firearms Unit needlessly duplicate, as a “point of contact” the Federal Level Background Check that is required to be performed and passed anytime a Citizen wishes to purchase a firearm at a licensed dealer.
The background check is something that is already done, at the Federal Level, via the National Instant Check System, for every prospective purchaser. So what purpose could it possibly serve to have the exact same check done at the State Level first?
Answer. None, none what-so-ever.
The information available on someone’s background and suitability to purchase a firearm is identical at both the State and Federal Level.
Since the Fed’s have access to the State Criminal History Records, any prohibiting record is going to be found by the Federal Instant Check System just as easily and readily as it would at the State Level.
- How many millions of dollars of tax payer money is wasted annually on this pointless process?
- How many millions in equipment set up, maintenance and upgrades to the computer system?
- How many millions in the form of salary and benefits for the Troopers or civilian personnel?
- How many Troopers could be re assigned to patrol duties or other divisions that would actually help fight real crime, instead of insisting on maintaining a system that appears to be designed and utilized solely for the task of making purchasing or owning a gun in NJ as difficult as possible.
I submitted an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request roughly a year ago seeking information on the line item in the budget for the NJ State Police on exactly how much money is spent annually perpetuating this archaic system and additionally how many Troopers were assigned to such tasks. My request was denied on the grounds of “not being specific enough” and that some of the information I was seeking pertaining to the Troopers positions was deemed “sensitive.” I wasn’t terribly surprised by the denial, as OPRA is just one more system that is described as being a “good thing” but is deliberately engineered and implemented to make it as difficult as possible for Citizens to hold the Govt accountable for their policies.
Currently, there is a proposal for a bill circulating in Harrisburg in our neighbor to the west of us to eliminate Pennsylvania’s similar system of running a background check at both the State and Federal Levels, for the exact same reasons I’m writing about regarding New Jersey’s.
Its a pointless waste of taxpayer dollars that, in these times of extreme economic hardship for Citizen and government alike, could be better spent in any number of better ways.
Activists in Pennsylvania discovered that the dual system of using the State as a portal to the Federal Level background check had wasted 91 Million dollars of taxpayer money since its inception, performing a task that the Feds already offer to do for FREE! Now, clearly I recognize that Pennsylvania is a much larger State then NJ, with a far higher number of gun owners and prospective purchasers compared to NJ. But if PA wasted 91 million dollars on the same type of system we have in NJ, it is a reasonable conclusion that NJ is most certainly wasting 10’s of millions doing the same thing.
Ten(s) of millions of tax payer dollars may not, by itself, be a staggering sum in the State Budget, but as anyone that saves their pocket change at the end of the day can attest, the little stuff adds up to a pretty nice sum when it’s totaled with savings in other areas. Trimming 10’s of millions of expenditure’s from anywhere they aren’t absolutely necessary rapidly starts approaching 100 million dollars saved, and that’s hardly an amount to sneeze at.
There’s another angle to consider in eliminating the NJ FID Card. In a 1965 case Lamont v Post Master General concerning the 1st Amendment, the Court ruled that the requirement of a license or “permit” to exercise a protected, fundamental right was UN Constitutional. Stating in part “the First Amendment prevents the Government from registering purchasers of magazines and newspapers, even if such material is communist political propaganda.”
In light of the recent Heller and McDonald cases affirming that Second Amendment Rights are in fact a “protected, fundamental right,” NJ’s FID Card scheme would appear to be on thin legal ground. It seems to me a compelling argument could be made that the NJ FID Card scheme could certainly be described as “registering” gun owners or potential owners.
How many more millions will be wasted fighting Court battles that the State will almost certainly lose regarding Second Amendment issues?
I’ll have more later about what I have uncovered regarding the establishment of the FID Card debate care of a close friend that went to the State Archives and forwarded everything he had to me to tear apart. For now, lets just concentrate on making the argument for its elimination on the fiscally prudent grounds the Governor claims to support whole heatedly.
About D. Roberts:
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