By John Petrolino
How the Senate President, Steve Sweeney , turned on gun owners and his fellow citizens. Draconian laws persist and the battle for Freedom in New Jersey wages on…
I had reached out to Anthony “I Will Not Comply” Colandro, Master Firearm’s trainer and he invited me over for a chat.
I told him I was working on an article on NJ gun laws and what we are dealing with here in New Jersey….This is what he had to say:
“I believe people from other states need to understand our plight. Because we repeat over and over again that what happens in New Jersey does not stay in New Jersey, like the Lautenberg act. Which is also what turned into minimum mandatory sentencing…if you are charged with domestic violence, you can lose your gun rights for the rest of your life. And people don’t understand that under those laws and the graves act, that all started in New Jersey. People tell me all the time ‘Well I moved and I don’t care about New Jersey or what happens there now’ because they live in Tennessee or Texas, a free state.”
“I tell them, that is BS. You have to be concerned. We are the hotbed of socialism here and they are going to experiment here in New Jersey and New York and they are going to get a law passed and then they’re going to try to go national with it…Or other states like Colorado, you see what happened in Colorado before the recall effort, they tried to pass the same laws that we have here in New Jersey, magazine bans etc. etc.
People need to understand that what happens in New Jersey does not stay in New Jersey.”
Getting to Know The Garden State
When someone makes mention of New Jersey a few things come to mind immediately…Pork Roll, Bruce Springsteen, The Jersey Shore and the biggest question of all, “What’s your exit?”. What has not generally come to mind are things like gun ownership, concealed carry and the shooting sports.
That tide is changing slowly, and the approximate one million gun owners in the State of New Jersey are starting to be heard.
New Jersey, overall, has some of the most Draconian and restrictive firearms laws in the country. A quick overview of some of the laws in the State of New Jersey will astound many of you. For example, if an individual wants to buy a Shotgun or Rifle (that includes BB guns folks!) they must first obtain a New Jersey Firearms ID (FID) card – which includes an FBI background check/ NJ NICS check (check #1), fingerprints and a whole slew of other things that can be found here. After getting that all done, you will be issued, or Should, be issued your FID. With a newly minted Legal, Town/State Issued Document, which is just a card, with one’s name and fingerprint, a lot like a business card, which would deteriorate in one’s wallet over time, one is now able to head over to their local gun shop and gain entry to the world of firearms ownership.
Presenting said sad document, with a Driver’s License, the worker at the retail location would run the NICS check, but not just any NICS check, the New Jersey NICS check (check #2), which costs money and eventually one will get the yay or nay on if the purchase can go through. Now this is instant folks, but this is a different kind of instant…instant as in from five minutes to several days or weeks. Then you fill out the federal forms, a NJ Certificate of Eligibility, fork over the money and leave a gun owner. Congratulations, you have a shotgun, rifle or BB gun. With the newly acquired FID card you can now buy and possess long guns without abandon.
Want a Pistol? (FYI A BB Pistol is the same as a real pistol in NJ)
Well, you can only buy one handgun a month and you must go through the same process to get an FID card to obtain a Pistol Purchaser’s Permit/Certificate of Register including a NJ NICS check (check #3).
You need one permit per pistol, permits are good for 90 days but at some police departments, it can be extended for another 90 days and then you can kiss them goodbye, fees, NICS checks and all. You need to start it all over again.
With a newly minted Pistol Permit in hand, head over to your retailer, do the extra special NJ NICS check (check #4, same as the 1st three checks), hear back, fill out the federal forms, fill out the pistol permit in quadruplicate, fork over the money and now you’re the proud owner of a pistol.
Make sure you hold onto your pink copy of the permit, as that is the only record you have to prove you bought that gun, which is a big deal in New Jersey.
From the retail location, you can ONLY do one of the following things: Go DIRECTLY home. Go DIRECTLY to a shooting range. Go DIRECTLY to a licensed gunsmith. Go DIRECTLY to your place of business that you own. Go Directly out of state to somewhere that you are legally allowed to have that firearm, but make sure you follow federal laws in doing so. Do you catch the drift?Directly. Those are the only places you can take your legally owned pistol to in the state of New Jersey;
- business that you own,
- and out of state.
Do not stop for gas, restroom breaks, food, coffee, to pick up passengers, buy ammo, check on mom and dad….If you do, and if you get caught, you are now a felon.
Welcome to New Jersey, the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
Politics Not Aside
Suffice it to say, New Jersey is not a pleasant place to be a gun owner. It is a land where the closet gun owner flourishes. How did New Jersey go from point A – an epicenter during the American Revolution, to point B – a epicenter of some of the most violent cities in the nation and a place where the criminals have more freedoms than the law abiding citizens? A place where the creators of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence fought against tyranny, only for it to be returned back to tyranny. What did this?
A long list of historical events and politicians.
Enter New Jersey State Senator Stephen Sweeney into NJ politics in 2002. Once “A” rated by the National Rifle Association, Senator Sweeney has been quoted as saying that he would not pass any restrictive gun laws on the people of New Jersey, a promise he made and eventually broke to the New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) and citizens at large. And once “B” rated by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs.
Senator Sweeney, one of us?? One of the 1200 (that is one thousand two hundred folks) concealed carry permit holders in the state of New Jersey. Not really.
His 2009 “Nay” vote for Assembly Bill 339, “Handgun Purchasing Limitations”, a bill written to restrict pistol purchases to one a month supported his alleged solidarity to gun owners. The bill (with some turn-coat republican help) eventually became law anyhow. Six months later Stephen Sweeney would become Senate President.
When I turned 21, FID card in hand (which you can get at the age of 18), I naively went to my local Police Department. I grew up in a fairly nice area in New Jersey, centrally located. We paid a lot of taxes. The Police Department was always a rather welcoming place, I remember being a Boy Scout and I used to volunteer on Election Day there because it was a polling place. I walked into the police department and greeted the smiling middle aged woman at the front desk. I stated my intentions, “Hi, I would like to apply for a license to carry a concealed gun.” She looked at me blankly and said “No.” To which I was a taken back and then with all the wisdom in the world retorted “It is my constitutional right.”
Her reply will stick with me forever, “Not in New Jersey….”
Justifiable Need. That’s right. One of the few “May Issue” states left in the union, is New Jersey. To save on a lengthy explanation, consider New Jersey’s “May Issue” policy a de facto ban for ordinary citizens. Unless one is employed as an armored car driver, a security guard of some sorts, body guard, private detective or retired police officer, consider your chances of getting a Concealed Carry Weapons license impossible. Correction, impossible unless you are politically connected. Approximately One Thousand Two Hundred CCW licenses exist in New Jersey…I’ve met all of 1 or 2 people that actually have one. And each one of those had restrictions that said “while in the execution of ‘job’ duties.” or some mumbo jumbo like that which says they need to be on the clock.
There have been countless cases and instances in the State of New Jersey in trying to appeal this arbitrary concealed license law. Efforts have been made to try and return a right which you can freely exercise just over the river in the state of Pennsylvania (If you’re a resident or PA.) The Muller case, one dealing with mistaken identity, kidnapping and attempted murder, eventually made way and became the Drake case, as Muller did eventually became one of the 1200. John Drake is the owner and operator of an ATM business and frequently carries large sums of cash. He was denied a CCW for not fulfilling the Justifiable Need Clause. Drake, made it all the way up to The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) and was denied a chance to be heard.
The Pantano case died at the New Jersey Supreme court, which initially agreed to hear the case – the first case of its kind in years – ‘changed their mind’ after SCOTUS dropped Drake. Pantano runs a landscaping business and carries large quantities of cash. After being denied a hearing with the New Jersey Supreme court, Pantano folded his hand. There has been case after case. The Almeida case is now making the rounds, one involving a property manager who was denied a CCW after being threatened and targeted by dangerous gang members.
What did the authorities say when he denied Almeida his CCW Permit? “That he hire security or find other ways to conduct his business.“
Almeida is expected to just change jobs because a Judge says so. In addition to the piles of cases, just about every year a right leaning lawmaker proposes a bill to revise New Jersey’s Justifiable Need clause, currently the “Citizen’s Protection Act”. However, no bill will make it out of committee or to the floor for a vote unless the Senate President Sweeny ‘allows’ it.
The Tides Change
Senator Sweeney was voted in as Senate President in November of 2009 and was sworn into office in January of 2010. Things would seem business as usual. After being safely voted in as Senate president, in December 2009, Sweeney voted yay on A 2762 – Authorizes court to waive or reduce parole ineligibility or grant probation for drug-free school zone violations under certain circumstances. This would seem to be a strange bill to be proposed…So depending on if school is in session would give a judge further latitude with a criminal’s parole and probation? That hardly seems like it’s in the public’s interest, unless jail crowding is what we’re most worried about. Then in February 2011 Sweeney throws up a yay vote on S 958 – Authorizes the Limited Sale of Syringes and Needles Without a Prescription. Another interesting bill, this one allows drug users the right to go to their local pharmacy and buy and possess, no more than, 10 hypodermic needles, exempting them from drug paraphilia laws. The concern on this one is the spread of disease from using dirty needles, valid. Both of these bills hardly seem to try and attack or rectify the underlying issues, crime and drugs in the state of New Jersey. These are really just feel good band aids to the big problems we have in New Jersey.
Whether it was a change of heart, political pressure or outright hypocrisy, Senator Sweeney turned on gun owners in the state of New Jersey. After receiving support from the 2nd Amendment community and their trust, an onslaught of anti-gun bills came out in 2013 & 2014 and Senator Sweeney was spearheading one that he said the nation would use as a model. S 2723 – Revises statutes concerning firearms purchaser identification cards and handgun purchase permits; makes handgun purchase permit valid for four years, this was the bill he referenced.
Under S 2723, gun owners Firearms ID Cards would no longer be cheesy pieces of paper. Hey, that’s potentially a plus? Except, the language of the bill would make it so the information would be embedded into one’s driver’s license or state issued ID. Suffice it to say, that would be a gross breach of privacy for gun owners, especially given the large number of “closet gun owners” the state has.
If it had guaranteed that the FID card could be another standalone document, like it is now, except maybe something made from plastic with a photo on it, hell, kudos to that! If you ever get a chance to see a New Jersey FID card or one of the 1200 CCWs, you will see that we do need to step up our game in that department. Many suggest that the flimsy paper card and over size shape, it wont fit in a standard wallet, is done on purpose to inconvenience NJ FID owners and potentially trip them up with the law by not having their card. As it stands, our identification and permits for firearms are pathetic.
Another provision of the bill was to do away with the current paper pistol permitting scheme and embed this on the intrusive driver’s license or ‘other’ form of ID. In the case of ‘other’ form of ID, ”firearms purchaser identification card (FPIC)”, I say again, kudos! No papers to deal with? The permit is good for 4 years, instead of 90 days. But yes, requires renewal every 4 years. Current FID cards are valid until one moves to a different house. So, I don’t know how happy I would be with having to renew the FID card. Anyone that gets a “Boat/Auto” endorsement on their driver’s license knows that this is just another money making scheme, not to mention one is a privileg and the other is a right. So, okay, pistol permits good for 4 years, yeay! Having to renew FID card every 4 years, not the best. So far the bill does not seem “that” intrusive, if it were actually implemented with ‘good’ intentions, and not on one’s driver’s license (did you see what I did there? ‘that’ intrusive, so that means, yes its intrusive but, eh “okay.” – Not really).
With the bill, a system to ‘instantly’ tell if a buyer is eligible or not would be put into place. Perhaps a scanner of the card? Or a punch in of the numbers. Something that would tell the seller that the person buying the gun would be allowed to. Wait a second, we already have a federal NICS and we already use our super special NJ NICS. Why do we need another system? This sounds like a waste of money. Just have the ID card include Pistol Purchaser’s Permits on the language of the card… and forego the whole system of a permit for every individual pistol and continue using a Big Brother “form of register”. I think that would be more cost effective. The bill is not looking so hot now.
The next provision is the one where you lose the majority of people, “…present evidence of the successful completion of a firearms safety class or course approved by the superintendent as a condition for being issued the card, license, or permit”. Let’s not waste time discussing the finer points of this. Firearms ownership is a right, as opposed to a privilege, such as driving a car. I’m an advocate of firearms training. I’m also an NRA Instructor. Making this mandatory though, I am not hitting the ‘like’ button on that one. Another “stellar” part of the bill would include FFL and NICS use required for ALL firearms sales, banning private sales.
In the mix at the same time its important to note Sweeney’s support of A 3659 – Amends the Definition of Destructive Devices, also known as the 50 cal ban. The original language of the bill allegedly would have outlawed certain shotguns, probably not by design, but ignorance.
The bill had some merits. The bill also had several things that would outright infringe on a person’s rights. Period! That infringement is being construed as gun control. The same thing that Sweeney promised he would not push upon the people of New Jersey.
Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed S 2723. The conditions of the veto pretty much would have taken care of all the complaints I had about the bill and would keep it constitutionally sound. To this, Sweeney said the bill was dead and that “I really thought it was a good bill,”…. “The bill the way it was written had value. The (conditional veto) took all the value.”
Essentially Sweeney supported all the controversial provisions of the bill…to gun owners, this was a stab in the back.
Getting past the litany of anti-gun bills in 2013 was a big victory. Chris Christie, for whatever reasons, did the right thing and for that I’m grateful.
Politics aside, one can say whatever they want about Christie and his political aspirations, I personally do not care as his actions are benefiting the gun owners.
The anti-gun fun did not end though in 2013. Following the New Year, more bills were being introduced. A2006, a magazine limiting bill was brought to the floor for a vote. The bill would lower the magazine limit from 15 rounds to 10, exempting .22 caliber firearms (interestingly enough a 100 round .22 drum magazine allegedly would have become legal under the fine print of this law). Sweeney swung on the subject, not supporting a similar bill in 2013 but after a meeting with family members of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting he became in full support. The controversy of magazine limits will live on for a very long time.
I do not support them. I do not think they make a difference. Training will allow a person with a 10 round magazine to do the same damage as if it held 15 rounds, and the age old argument of the criminals don’t follow the laws anyhow, so the only people this affects are law abiding citizens.
Criminals, if you want magazines with capacities higher than 10 or 15 rounds, just drive to Pennsylvania. Luckily this bill was vetoed again by Christie.
In 2014 there was a bill to revise the ‘reasonable deviations’ clause of New Jersey gun law, A2777. This is what says you must go directly home, directly to the range, etc. The provisions in the revisions of the law were supposed to be a “bone” tossed to NJ gun owners. An olive branch of sorts from Sweeney and the gun grabbers….They were insulting at best and the bill did not go anywhere. They completely dropped it. A real ‘olive branch’ would be: “you can have a gun in your car whenever you want (I’ll sneak ‘loaded’ into this too). “ How many people do you think have been tripped up for inadvertently having a gun in their car, not knowing they could not have a gun in their care and or for doing what they thought was the ‘right thing’? (Gordon Van Gilder, Shaneen Allen, Steffon Josey Davis, Brian Fletcher, Blake Harr, et.al.)
Things Get a Little More Murky
Second Amendment advocates and supporters in the state of New Jersey started to pound on Sweeney about his stance on gun control and gun laws in the state. Frankly, Sweeney pissed off a lot of people and organizations. In the past, he had no problem taking donations from Second Amendment groups but the coat has turned. Sweeney has stated that he outright will not support concealed carry in the state of New Jersey.
Sweeney comes out of the anti-gun closet and makes his intentions known…The former supporter of New Jersey gun owners starts quoting Brady Campaign and Bloomberg Group statistics and in some cases does not even do it accurately.
Sweeny, the card carrying CCW holder, shows his true colors and given the rhetoric, we now know where he stands.
What’s Gasoline Got to Do With it?
When I got a little older and moved off to college in the faraway, equally depressing (in certain regards), land of Massachusetts, I discovered all kinds of new things. I temporarily uprooted. To get to Massachusetts you must drive through New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island (depending on your route) and then you’ll finally be in the land of deflated footballs (yes that was a shot). The most interesting thing I learned was how to pump my own gas. In New Jersey, not only is it illegal to have a gun in your car outside of exemptions, have a BB gun without a license, fire off fireworks, have a slingshot (look out Bart Simpson), it is also illegal to pump your own gas.
Let’s not get into the whys and how’s of this. Let’s just focus on the fact that New Jersians are not allowed to pump their own gas.
This is about to change….so we thought. Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, planned on introducing a bill that would overthrow the ban. The bill was met with enthusiasm and a local New Jersey talk-radio station was a-blaze with callers in support of reversing this gas pumping ban. But guess what? Sweeney does not support this.
From a NJ.com article…this is what Sweeney had to say:
“I continue to support the full service requirement for New Jersey's gas stations and I will oppose any attempt to rescind the law that has effectively served the best interests of the state's motorists for decades,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said in a statement Tuesday. “As long as I am Senate President, the ban on self-serve will stay in place.”
There you have it…What Sweeney says, goes. Where do we think the “Citizen’s Protection Act” would fall in line for being heard on Sweeney’s agenda? Since Sweeney does not think we’re responsible enough to pump our own gas….
Time to Recall
“NJ Constitutional law allows a State legislator to be recalled if the citizens of New Jersey are not happy with the way they are representing their constituents. We have the ability to restore NJ by initiating this recall and having Senator Sweeney kicked out of office for acting in his own interest and not the interests of NJ residents.”
Alexander Roubian, current president of the New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society (NJ2AS) had a turning point in his life. Meeting with Roubian, he relayed his story to me:
“I would say I understood what my rights were as a naive college student at the time. I had graduated and was taking some Master’s classes at Rutgers in Newark. I was walking home from my office in down town Newark. Literally 20 feet behind me I heard a man scream for his life and a loud bang. I was so naive and ignorant I thought it was some people playing with fire crackers. I took off and when I went back inside, my roommate told me maybe it was not a firecracker….we went back out to go look around the corner and we saw a dead body lying there. It was maybe 20 feet behind me.”
With a new enthusiasm for the second Amendment and a lust for learning, Roubian started to research how to get a firearm in New Jersey. He could not understand the whole process without digging deeper into the text of New Jersey gun law.
It’s been years since that day in Newark when Roubian made the commitment to become a gun owner and his zeal and activism has brought much worth to the efforts in New Jersey. Story after story concerning the corrupt politics in New Jersey poured out of him. I asked Roubian about Sweeney and a chance meeting he had with him in Trenton:
“I was testifying for the senate law and public safety committee. Where Sweeney was talking about his Utopian gun law that would stop all gun crime and save women and children. It was so ‘Starwars’….
When we finished up the hearing I saw the elevator door was partially closed and I jumped right in and Stephen Sweeney was standing there with his armed guard. We instantly noticed each other. He stepped up to me in an intimidating fashion, to my toes and said ‘You know…I can legally carry a gun and they call me the Union thug.’…I don’t know his name but the guard was a witness to this.”
When asked about the tipping point, Roubian asked back:
“How many times did they have to turn off our microphone (in hearings in Trenton)? How many times did they have to kick us out of a Senate hearing? How many times did they tell us ‘well lets vote on the bill first and then we’ll listen to your concerns.’ Another tipping point was when they actually held a roll call vote and once they realized, the Democrats, that they were not going to get the vote out of committee, they stopped it and tabled the bill and ultimately transferred it to another committee…which is so illegal I do not understand how these people are not being federally investigated.”
Pressed further about the state of New Jersey, Roubian Continued:
“We have to emphasize the point that for us to believe and have this narrative that we’re going to have another conversation with these legislatures, that we’re going to convince them, is insanity. The game has changed and we have to change. We are not going to win the argument when we’re saying the constitution allows these things and the opposition is literally exploiting dead children. Saying we can stop this from happening. They do not talk about the blacks and minorities being murdered every year, by the hundreds. In Newark, like I witnessed. And the Hispanics that are being murdered in New Jersey’s inner cities. Why are we not talking about those issues of crime? Why are we importing calamity from Connecticut and other states to push forward their agenda?”
Roubian started researching the recall laws in New Jersey. After fully reading and understanding the law, he started to get the wheels in motion. This is monumental for New Jersey….As Roubian explains
“A couple of weeks ago when I went to the state election department, they were looking at me in awe. Telling me you understand this is the first time in history that anyone in New Jersey has done this on a state level?”
A Right Delayed is a Right Denied – and can be Deadly
On June 3rd, 2015 Carol Bowne was murdered. A headline bearing the notes that another person was stabbed to death in New Jersey should or would be of no surprise to anyone reading the news. On any given week, if you look at the main headlines on Nj.com, a news site for New Jersey news, you will find several violent and or drug related stories being promoted.
This story is much more tragic, the story of Carol Bowne is a telling tale of the continued failure of New Jersey’s Government, as a whole, to protect and or allow citizens the right to protect themselves.
Carol Bowne was a victim of domestic violence. Her ex-boyfriend made it a habit to harass, antagonize and threaten her. Following what would be the letter of the law and also what would be the suggestions of New Jersey lawmakers, Carol got a restraining order. This magical document by nature of its design would protect Carol. Carol got a security and surveillance system, one that would later document her gruesome murder in her driveway. Carol applied for a New Jersey Pistol Permit on April 21st 2015, she made the decision she needed more protection. Start the clock….
Under New Jersey law, the public masters have 30 days to issue a FID card and or Pistol Permit when they are applied for. Now, if say a gun owner were to purchase two or attempt to purchase two pistols in a thirty day period, they would immediately be charged with breaking the law and arrested. On a near weekly basis Bowne called her police department and checked on the status of her firearms paperwork as NJ’s 30 day time-limit ticked away. On a near weekly basis, if not several times a week, Carol called the police to inform them that she felt her life was in danger. On Monday June 1st 2105, Carol made one last call to the police department to check on her permit…two days later she would be murdered.
Forty Two days after applying for her Pistol Permit, asking permission to from the state to use her God given right, she was slaughtered.
First Amendment at Work (For a Little While at least….)
Given Senate President Sweeney’s stance on guns, gun control, concealed carry and his arrogant way of basically saying no bill will pass or make it to the floor unless he says so, The New Jersey Second Amendment Society took to peaceful protests.
For two weekends, outside the home of Senator Sweeney, protesters gathered to express their desire for change.
Initially Sweeney called the police and an officer showed up to interrogate the protesters. The protesters, breaking no laws, politely declined to provide their identification to the police. Officers, being filmed, knowing the letter of the law made it clear that the protesters are to not step on the property, block the driveway or get in the street. The protesters were such a threat that Sweeney had the Chief of Police show up…for what, I don’t think anyone is sure.
And attempts to shoo away the protesters by turning on his sprinklers were met with disappointment, as they would have brought their bathing suits had they known it was going to be a pool party. During one of the encounters, Sweeney is approached by a protester that introduced him to one of Bowne’s family members. Sweeney ignored them – the opposite of what he did when the family members of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting talked to him…No he had them there to support the magazine limit bill. But a simple expression of condolences to Carol’s family was not had. Where is the bill for Carol Senator Sweeney?
In the wake of two peaceful protests, what is the response from the public masters? West Deptford city council makes movements to ban protesting within 100 feet of the intended person’s property line. Yes, this was and is really happening.
The response is to ban the First Amendment because a couple of protesters are harassing and or interfering with the life of Senate President Sweeney?
I’m sorry, you are an elected public official. Public, meaning you belong or are for the people. Moving to make it illegal for protesters to gather peacefully in front of your home only further fortifies the hypocrisy of New Jersey lawmakers and the hypocrisy of who you are Senator. Sweeney would have no problem putting a giant rat in front of a job site if the union was on strike. Sweeney also has no problem giving himself the right to keep arms by having a Concealed Carry Weapons permit, while blocking everyone else. More New Jersey corruption.
On July 15, 2015 , West Deptford passed the ‘gag’ ordinance concerning protesting within 100 feet of a person’s home….First the Second Amendment, then the First. Everyone paying attention?
Spring into Action
The Machine of Recall Sweeney was in full swing. Everything was planned and there was a declaration of a “Day of Action”. Alexander Roubian and other advocates secured a location for what would be the kickoff event of the recall campaign. Being necessary to properly train and prepare people to collect signatures, over two months prior to the event, Roubian secured Total Turf, a local sports complex, for the rally point, renting the entire arena. Right before the “Day of Action” Roubian recounts that he was hoping to get some rest and recharge his batteries. Roubian posts the location of the rally on the internet and through emails and within an hour he gets a call from one of the owners of Total Turf, Jerry McGough;
“I just found out what you guys are doing”…and Roubian replies “But you’ve known since day one. I paid this in full almost three months ago. And now you’re telling me that you don’t want us to have this event at your location?” McGough from Total Turf continued “We have a lot of concerned parents messaging us about this tweet that went out.” Their conversation came to a head, Jerry from Total Turf said “Well, I don’t agree with what you are doing.” Roubian asked “What do you believe we are going to be doing?” McGough makes a business decision in his well thought out reply “I don’t know.”
Roubian scrambled and was able to secure a new location for the Day of Action meet up. They booked a banquet hall, ironically, called The Washington.
About conversations with management at the Washington, Roubian said “I gave full disclosure. We have this recall going on, we are going after this person. They said we do not discriminate. As long as everything is civilized and professional, you are more than welcome to hold it here.”
On Saturday June 27, 2015 over three hundred Second Amendment supporters met for The Day of Action. The meeting laid the foundation for what was going to commence. Alexander Roubian delivered a speech about the groups intentions and got everyone prepared for the day. Timothy Knight, one of the leaders of the Colorado recall election efforts also delivered a motivational speech. I asked Roubian about the day and he mentioned that the numbers just came in on the 9th of July and that they are very pleased with them. The work is not yet done. Roubian and the rest of the Recall Sweeney patriots still have more signatures to collect but they have a very solid foundation and strong momentum.
He made it clear that “We need soldiers, not philosophers. We all already know our rights and we need more people to knock on doors.”
Whatever may become of New Jersey, I think what the most important and compelling thing to take away from this is we are waging a multi front war and slowly are gaining ground. The rest of the country needs to know. The politicians in New Jersey have its citizens scared…they are intimidated. One of the activists told Roubian upon returning from gathering signatures on The Day of Action a story that sums up where we are at politically in New Jersey:
“This 85 year old World War II vet was scared and petrified to sign the petition in fear of retaliation from the Government and Sweeney that somebody will somehow take away his veteran benefits for signing. So here is a man that literally fought the Nazis to protect and save this country and he is now scared of his own government retaliating against him. Talk about irony. Eventually he signed but he had to be convinced.”
Many of the New Jeresy lawmakers do not care about us. Their position on the subject of firearms is blatantly clear, Roubian shares:
“They just hate guns. We don’t have to look any further than Loretta Weinberg’s hot mic session when she said ‘why are we talking about this? We need to pass a law that will confiscate, confiscate, confiscate.’….or when Assemblyman Joseph Cryan was talking at a church function, ‘gun safety thing’, that turned out to be an anti-gun propaganda meeting. He came up and he said ‘I received over two thousand phone calls and emails opposing this bill and I received zero in support of it. And what did I do? I passed it anyway. And that is why I need your help to make sure we get this done.’ Concerning the gun control bills he supported.”
The work has just begun. With time and effort, New Jersey may join the other states in the Union as a free state. It is possible with patriots. It is possible with the hammering of case after case being dismissed by the NJ Supreme Court, or the SCOTUS, or district courts, eventually one has to stick. It is all very possible with cases like Peruta being waged on the other side of the country to swoop in and save the day. All of this is possible. Just like your freedoms…Just like its possible for your freedoms to be ripped from you. Look at the work that Bloomberg is doing on state wide levels…And with that, I’ll sign off with some words of wisdom from Anthony Colandro:
“When Governor Christie is gone, if we get a democratic Governor we’re screwed. We are going to have 80 gun bills come through in one year and they’re all going to get signed into law and they’re going to have zero net effect on crime, yet you’re going to see more law abiding citizens going to prison and they will not have a Governor like Christie who will pardon one a month…basically.
“We’re worried about one gun a month in New Jersey, we need one pardon a month. That’s the other thing, right after they passed one gun a month in New Jersey, there was talk of following the Massachusetts model of one gun every three months. Only four guns every year. Peeling the onion (of our freedoms) one layer at a time. New Jersey, we already have one gun every year for certain towns because we have to wait so long to get our permits, we have to beg for permission for our paperwork. Passaic takes a year. Passaic is going to end up getting sued….Remember what happens in New Jersey does not stay in New Jersey.”
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii