Proof NJ Gun Crimes Suffer From A Lack Of Prosecution


Justice iStock-1245041394
Proof NJ Gun Crimes Suffer From A Lack Of Prosecution. IMG: iStock-1245041394

Authors Note. I originally wrote this article back on July 20th, 2009, in the aftermath of a shootout between two criminals and the police in which an officer was wounded and eventually died from his wounds a few days later. Given the fact that NJ Assembly Bill A1013 was recently brought before the Law and Public Safety Committee and named in the fallen officers honor, I thought it timely that I share what I found about one of the suspects involved.

New Jersey--( Late last week there was a shootout in Jersey City, NJ involving a convicted felon already under investigation for a previous armed robbery, and his girlfriend as an active accomplice.

When two plainclothes detectives approached the two suspects on the street in the early morning hours one of the suspects already barred by federal law from even touching a firearm, immediately pulled out a shotgun and opened fire on the officers. This lead to a standoff, which culminated in a barricade situation in which the Jersey City Special Response Team stormed the apartment and a second gun battle ensued, resulting in the deaths of both suspects and the injury of five Jersey City Officers, including two critically.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey addressed the media at a press conference concerning the incident and the Officers condition in the Hospital parking lot. During that press conference Chief Comey, understandably shaken and upset, succumbed to his emotions and bellowed about the need to do something about getting the guns off the streets, that the firearm used is “only used for hunting man” and that in his view “the shotgun in question was an assault weapon, to be used only by the military and police.”

While one can certainly understand to a degree Chief Comey’s outburst given the circumstances, that is not an excuse to jettison ones professional demeanor and take up the absurd mantra of even more restrictions on law abiding citizens because of the actions of criminals that clearly show their unabashed willingness to flaunt the existing laws at every opportunity.

A quick check of the follow up article in the Star Ledger the next day shows that one of the officers shot had already had a previous run in with one of the shooters. Officer Marc Dinardo, the most seriously wounded, had arrested the shooter and suspect Hassan Skakur back in 2002 for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a direct violation of both state and federal law.

Skakur served a tad more then four years for that offense, which calls for a minimum and mandatory sentence of five years in Federal Prison. Now contrast Skakur’s sentence with another NJ criminal, also reported on by the Star Ledger, not quite a year ago. In that case, Shawntrail Lee was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison! Mr. Lee’s trial and conviction took place in Augusta, Georgia.

The citizens of this state need to ask themselves why in a state claiming to be so ‘hard‘ on gun crime could sentence so lightly a known felon with an extensive rap sheet tried and convicted of illegal possession of a firearm punishing him with only a little more then 50 months in jail; but the same exact charge in Georgia, one of those states that Bryan Miller excoriates for its “weak gun laws” sentenced the violator with 15 years in the federal penitentiary.

I deeply sympathize with the injured officers and wish them all a full and speedy recovery. Frankly they did us all a favor as tax payers by disposing of a couple of sociopathic violent animals.

But the fact remains as long as the state legislature, the governor, the Attorney General’s Office and certain law enforcement officials continue to parrot the bold face lies of the anti gun crowd that seeks to put the gun in jail, rather than the criminal, these types of shootings will continue.

By refusing to thoroughly punish those who transgress the law, and posturing against firearms as a pretext for their failure of policy, yet more incidents will continue to take place in New Jersey’s “gun free killing zone,” while the rights of the law abiding will continue to be assailed as a sacrificial lamb on the alter of political correctness by spineless politicians who have no interest in anything other then their next campaign.

In a stunning twist even Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence recently admitted to an Akron, Ohio Newspaper that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” Something anyone with an once of common sense and the ability to engage in critical thinking and logic has known for years.

If Mr. Helmke can acknowledge such an obvious and fundamental truth after years of denial, there’s still a slight hope the leaders of New Jersey will reach the same conclusion. But the first step down that path is to stop hiding behind emotion and misrepresentation and admit the truth, we have a violent crime problem not because of the availability of guns, but because of the distinct lack of elected and appointed officials willing to uphold their oath of office and give voice to something we all know.

Lock up the criminals for a long time and leave the law abiding, freedom loving citizens alone!

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Dan Roberts