Matt Sweetwood won a landmark victory for gun ownership rights from the New Jersey Supreme Court. So he’s against gun restrictions, right? Wrong. Here is his six point plan to help reduce gun violence.
President Obama just gave a widely anticipated press conference on taking executive action to reduce gun violence. While declaring the validity of the 2nd Amendment and the right of gun owners to bear arms, he proposed closing the loopholes in the buying of guns without background checks and the improvement of our background checking system. I made exactly the same proposal in August of last year in my article below: “The Dad Who Won Landmark Supreme Court Gun Case Proposes 6-Step Solution to End Gun Violence”. In addition I provided other steps which would both reduce gun violence and protect the rights of lawful gun owners. I wished Mr. Obama and our Congress would come together and put those ideas into motion too.
I am pro-gun, pro-constitution and anti-violence. I despise that innocent men, women, and children are losing their lives to this kind of mass gun violence in theaters, churches and schools. I despise that our inner cities are riddled with minority on minority gun crime. I despise that our second amendment rights are are justly being questioned, as most civilized folk are desperate to stop the cycle of gun crimes.
I also hated that the State of New Jersey engaged in a vicious campaign, to unfairly and improperly take my rights away. I am likely the only person you have heard of who fought hard, paid 100,000 dollars in the process all the way up to the Supreme Court with no help from the NRA or anyone. I fought hard and won.
It was 1996 and my wife moved out of the house permanently and I was left with five kids to take care of. Federal law says that you can’t own weapons if you are subject to a restraining order and we had mutual restraining orders. By consent agreement with the local New Jersey authorities, I sold my guns for $1 to a friendly gun shop and the local police held my firearms card.
My divorce, one of the longest in New Jersey history, after 2 separate visits to the appellate court, came to an end four years later. I now had permanent full custody of our five children and the restraining orders were lifted. When I attempted to get my firearms card back, the state refused saying a new law had been passed and since my guns were not returned to me, I could never legally own a gun in New Jersey again.
It took me six years to finally win a landmark decision in the NJ Supreme Court. It was an attack on gun ownership rights by an ideological district attorney’s office. The state wasn’t interested in protecting the public – they were engaging in politics. They spent a large amount of taxpayer dollars going after me – an individual who has never committed a crime of any kind, while gun violence reaches new record levels in many New Jersey cities.
I found it ironic that my court appearances were mostly in Newark and Trenton, New Jersey – cities well-known for illegal guns and violence. I could have left the courthouse, walked a block away and bought a gun on the street in minutes,
So what is the solution to this blight on our society? It’s certainly not banning guns. It is our constitutional right and it’s a fantasy to think you will remove the hundreds of millions of guns that are already in circulation. So, I propose the following 6-step solution, which will likely displease both gun-rights and anti-gun folks alike.
- There needs to be a modernized Federal database of all guns and gun owners. This way when someone commits an aggravated felony, we know they have guns. This is to track felons, not to track law abiding gun owners.
- 7-day waiting period before a gun is purchased and background checks on purchases for first time purchasers.
- Elimination of gun selling / trading and Internet gun purchases without background checks. We need to know who is buying guns.
- There should be a set standard for gun ownership. Currently, it is left in the discretion of local authorities who sometimes error incorrectly either way. If you have committed an aggravated felony you can’t have a gun. If you have mental health issues you get a hearing to determine your status. If you don’t fall into those categories, you can’t be denied a gun and you are allowed to carry it. The non-carry states are violating our 2nd amendment rights.
- Let’s do as the Israelis do. Currently, here in the USA, most sports arenas have searches on the way in. That needs to be effectuated on more public place where there are larger crowds. In Israel, you can’t enter a movie theater, bar, mall, etc., without bags being searched and wanded by a metal / bomb detector. And police need to be able to stop and frisk.
- Most gun crimes are committed by repeat offenders. There needs to be mandatory minimum jail sentences for any crime committed with a gun. Sell drugs while carrying a gun and get 10 years in prison – do it again, get 20 years. We need to let the bad guys know, gun crime gets you real time.
That is a pro-gun, reasonable gun control law, anti-violence, and pro-constitution solution. If both sides would actually get out of our ideological trenches we could make that happen. This article has inspired me to send my 6-step method to my Congressmen and Senators from New Jersey – while not holding my breath, waiting for a positive response.
Good guys should be able to own guns and protect themselves. The way the political debate is going right now, the bad guys will continue to get guns and the violence will continue.
Photo: Flickr/Emily Wood