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Opinion: Firearms Are A Constant Factor in Violent Crimes

Resident attempts to find out the number of firearm permits issued in Wayne only to have his request denied.

To The Editor:

For decades now, from time to time some one with a firearm seems to step out of the crowd and begins shooting down innocent people for no apparent reason. Not that any reason would ever justify an act of carnage the likes of which we have come to be witness to as of late. 

It always seems to me that society is always better at looking back at these incidents rather than looking forward at them, analyzing what has happened rather than heading them off. 

And for all the efforts we do make in deconstructing these sort of events to try to know what might have been going through the minds of these very bad actors, and what set them off, one thing remains a constant factor, firearms. 

When it comes to building here in Wayne, owners of property file for building permits and they are reviewed and in many cases neighbors adjacent to such sites are advised as to the impact that certain projects have on the surrounding community. Owners are compelled to come before the boards and council to have those plans and designs approved. 

But not when it comes to gun safety, government issues permits for ownership here in New Jersey in secret. 

And as they do, you and me are not advised that there is a large caliber firearm within its effective range, of where we reside. 

A few weeks ago I submitted an Open Public Record Request for access to the number of firearms permits issued by the township and that request resulted in: 

"Because of the sensitivity of your request I sought guidance from the Government Records Council and our Township Attorney and with such your request is denied in whole based on the below:

"New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety’s regulations at N.J.A.C. 13:54-1.15, which provides that:

“Any background investigation conducted by the chief of police … of any applicant for a permit, firearms identification card license, or registration … is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law or this chapter to have access to such investigation, including the applicant … [A]ny document reflecting the issuance or denial of such permit, firearms identification card, or license … maintained by any … municipal governmental agency, is not a public record and shall not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law or this chapter to have access to such documentation, including the applicant …”

While the response was not entirely unexpected I was surprised that the states position is that some how a permit that requires government approval is not a public record? In other communities where this sort of information is deemed public information one township took exception to releasing the information citing the safety of law enforcement, first responders and veterans over the Peoples' right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. 

It is my position that We The People have a right to know if there is a firearm and permit applied for and granted within reasonable distance to where we live, capable of firing a projectile that if pointed our way could in fact penetrate the very walls behind which we live, and that while I do honor and respect the safety of those whom we entrust our protection, it is my protection and that of my family and neighbors that is non negotiable.

Stewart Resmer

Wayne

S K January 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Mr Resmer, The NJ Legislature disagrees with you, the identity of gun owners can not be " outed" as they were in 2 counties in NY. FYI... there have now been 2 break ins at homes on that list, the thieves went right for the safes. Your supposed right to know does not trump my right to privacy. It is not public knowledge how much I earn per year, whether I own jewelry, nor own a firearm. Sorry.
stewart resmer January 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM
sk I beleive the law is unconstitutional in its present form, it is a de facto concealed weapons permit that deprives me of my 1st amendment right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness, further it abridges the freedom of the press, and nowhere in the constitution will you find the words 'right to privacy' you will find in the subordinate 2nd amendment the phrase 'well regulated'. What you earn is between you and tax man, please dont attempt to confuse the issues here? In the example of the burglaries you refernece can you demonstrate where some one was arrested, charged, and found gulity or confessed to targeting a particular home for a firearm theft? If not then your assertion is highly speculative and in a court of law it would be termed as lacking foundation. You cant make a statement like that with out supporting proof, it is conjecture on your part and nothing more.
stewart resmer January 19, 2013 at 12:15 AM
jq yes hundreds of yards, the formula that I would use would be determined by the firearm , while a 22 derringer may have a effective range fo 25 yards, a 223 AR-15 on the other hand may be 500, if it were a desert eagle many hundreds of yards, or a 50 cal rifle? a mile. Right now, the unsuspecting citizens have no idea what weapons are about, or how many of them there might be, and we have no way to determine what peril we may or may not be on, yet we know that the neighbor wants to add a room or a swimming pool that needs a security fence but not a lethal firearm across the way down the road?
Jack Q January 19, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Interesting. Would that also include movies and video games that glorify these weapons usage as well? Seems to me that they are equally responsible for de-sensitizing people to the carnage these weapons potentially could create. You would also need to crackdown on weapons bought on the internet. I should expect to Senate legislation regarding yours and the issue I listed above being passed by the Senate, dont you?
stewart resmer January 19, 2013 at 03:19 PM
When it comes to 'their' right to keep and bear arms, you seek anonimity, when it comes to our right to know who has what sort of firearms about we are to be denied, this is clearly unequal protection under the law, a double standard. Even unconstitutional.
Jack Q January 19, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Yet when people want to check voter's id, you cry unconstitutional, as well. Nice to live in your double standard world.
stewart resmer January 19, 2013 at 04:39 PM
recent polling reveals the nra is more popular than Hollywood, you may be on to something, maybe you should write a letter to the editor? {urcahsing weapons on the inter net is an interesting state of affiars what with the inability to confirm with certitude who the purchaser may be? Not my issue. My concern is what known weapons may be within range of where I live.
your.neighbor January 19, 2013 at 08:08 PM
So if I am understanding Stewart correctly, he is proposing to mark the locations of certain people that he believes to be inherently dangerous, even though they do not have any criminal or violent background. Then, by marking these houses everyone in the community will feel safer because they know the type of person that lives there. The community can then act accordingly in the way that 'those' people are treated and perceived. How do you propose to mark these "danger zones"? Perhaps with a gold star? Essentially, this is a form of registration. After registration, comes confiscation. Then the will of the armed is put upon those without arms. History has shown this to be the natural chain of events, numerous times, which has led to the slaughter of millions in the 20th century alone. Our founding fathers knew this and that is why they wrote the constitution. They were extremely intelligent and wise and they chose their words very carefully. Credit must be given to their well thought out and deliberate choice of words, which ensured that the U.S. would forever remain a nation of free people. Some may argue that the 2nd amendment has no bearing today and that times were different then. Back then, everyone (military and citizens) owned the most current and technologically advanced firearms of their day. Today we have the internet, something the founding fathers could probably never dream up, and yet it has been ruled that the 1st amendment applies to it…
your.neighbor January 19, 2013 at 08:08 PM
(continued) They could not predict the kinds of advancements in technology, but they made sure that future generations would exist as free men and women. Stewart, you and your gun owning neighbors are on the same side and want the same things, which is to live freely, fully, and peacefully. If anything, your gun owning neighbor is more than likely a good man or woman because they voluntarily agreed to a full background check and passed. You expressed concern about your house being hit by stray bullets and linked a news article. That article is about two drug using idiots who were doing something they should not have been doing and will never legally own a firearm again, and rightfully so. In NJ at least, as far as I know, legal use of firearms are only permitted at a sanctioned shooting range, on farms, and in defense of human life. Personally, I am more afraid of being hit by a car (whether the driver is drunk or not) than I am of being shot. You also argued that a firearm permit is the same as a building permit. Owning a pool and owning a firearm are two drastically different subject matters and I hope that everyone recognizes that. Also, the permit process in NJ has long been seen as an infringement of our 2nd amendment rights (and by ‘our rights’, I am referring to you, me, and everyone else). NJ is one of the few states where a “permit” must be applied for in order to purchase a firearm. …
your.neighbor January 19, 2013 at 08:09 PM
(continued) Firearm ownership is at an all time high in this country, and yet violent crime over the past 20 years has declined. The FBI’s UCR is available for anyone to view and I invite everyone to take a look. You can also look at other countries that have banned firearms, and their violent crime rate is much higher than ours. Every mass shooting that has occurred had two things in common. First, every one of them had mental issues, and in most, if not all cases, other people knew about it and did nothing or very little to prevent them from acting out. Second, the targeted areas were “gun free” zones. Now people want to ban so called “assault weapons”? The main rifles in question have existed since the 40’s and 50’s and now they suddenly pose an immediate threat? Do they even know what a real “assault rifle” actually is? Should the people who know nothing about firearms and real world shootings be making the rules regarding this issue? Just because I used to watch “House” and “ER” does not mean I really know anything about the medical field, medications, prescription drugs, surgery, etc. ...
your.neighbor January 19, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Before going on a witch hunt for the “dangerous law abiding citizens of our town and nation” and condemning them, might I suggest another route? Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, shake their hand, talk with them, and then realize that they are not your enemy, but you are in fact one in the same. You want your kids to be safe when they go to a friend’s house? Teach them to be responsible for themselves, get to know the parents, politely ask questions (will they be supervised?), and if there is a problem or issue, do not allow your child to go to those places. You want to know where the legal gun owners live? Are you willing to put a sign on your house that reads, “This home is gun free”? I want everyone to be safe and do not wish for anyone to be violated, targeted, harassed, and/or segregated for ANY reason. Sincerely, Your neighbor *Also, firearms bought over the internet MUST be shipped to an FFL (gun store) in the state in which you reside. The store then conducts a background check and transfers the firearm to the buyer.
stewart resmer January 19, 2013 at 09:38 PM
jq so? identification of voters at polling stations is required but the right to know if there are firearms about is somehow an abridgement of the 2nd amendment? laughable
stewart resmer January 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Five Injured In Accidental Gun Show Shootings On ‘Gun Appreciation Day’
stewart resmer January 20, 2013 at 04:28 PM
I respect you for taking the time to give this such thoughtful consideration. Allow me to respond. No, not locations and named individuals, rather general areas like say 400 block of Valley rd. No, never said 'mark houses' this is not Nazi Germany. No not registration, these owners and firearms are already registered, No not confiscation. The founding fathers included 2 words you elect to evade 'well regulated'. At this very hour I can step out on the deck and hear live gun fire at shooting range in the distance with absolutely no assurance there will be a ricochet, please know I served at MCRD Edson Range a US Marine live fire reservation and I know full well the possibility and consequence of high powered weapons and unintended ricochets. Your NRA talking points on the definition of what is an assault weapon is a phony one, and you know it. I resent your calling my opinion a witch hunt, it is an excercise of the 1st amendment on my part in pursuit of life liberty and pursuit of happiness, in the slear and present danger to me that firearms represnt and I maintain a right to know theyr are within range of my home, period.
your.neighbor January 20, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Hello again Stewart, You are concerned about being within the firing range of a gun. After a quick search, Wayne is approx. 25 square miles in size with approx. 19,000 homes, over 50,000 people total, of which approx. 42,000 are over 18 years of age (taken from waynetownship.com/demographics) A bullet can travel at least 1 mile, and yes even a .22. So theoretically, if there is one gun owner per 2 square miles, then all of Wayne township is “in range”. According to the Wayne Township website they have 119 sworn police personnel, and I am sure they all have guns and probably live in town. As I recall, the number of homes in America that reported having a gun in their home is somewhere around 40% (key word, “reported”, and I am sure the actual number is much higher). If we take that percentage and apply it to the 19,000 homes in Wayne, we get 7,600 homes. So, on average, there may be ~300 homes with a firearm per one square mile in Wayne. I have not read of any person or home being hit by unintended gunfire nor of anyone illegally discharging a firearm in Wayne. ...
your.neighbor January 20, 2013 at 08:03 PM
(continued) As for registered firearms in NJ, registration of long guns (rifles, shotguns, etc.) is voluntary. For handguns, a permit must be obtained from the police for every handgun obtained. I believe that no state requires registration of long guns. Only states with active “assault weapon bans” in place require you to register those particular “assault weapons”. And that refers to the real “assault weapons”, not the ones currently being debated about in politics. NJ, CA, NY, and maybe 1 or 2 others have these laws and bans in place. As far as I am aware, there is no shooting range within the town that is open to the public. The shots you are hearing are probably from a police shooting range. Any issue you have with noise or ricochets you will have to take up with them. Who knows, maybe if you ask they will give you a tour and show what safety measures they have taken. I know of one range in Barbour Pond that is literally right next to a playground. I haven’t heard of any injuries or other problems coming from that, and I have been there while the range was in use. ...
your.neighbor January 20, 2013 at 08:04 PM
(continued) There are far greater issues and problems that we should be focusing on in our nation, state, and on a personal level. I still maintain that being hit by unintended gunfire is highly unlikely and that the law abiding citizens of this town are not the problem. If this were Newark, then yes, your concerns may be warranted. But even then, it is not the law abiding citizens in Newark doing the shooting. Have a good day and enjoy the football games
stewart resmer January 21, 2013 at 12:21 PM
I note that you fail to metion the responses to your misrepresentations of the OPRA I filed? Its not a Police range its a live fire range that conducts operations before 10 am on the Sabath in a state that still has blue laws, but of course this is about the right to blast off guns right? I also note that in the past you have made an issue about my posting on the Patch network as not being a resident of where you live but yet here you are? In the end, you are not much more than a electronic anon key stroke, until such time as you can find it within you to come out from behind your wizard of oz curtain with your true and correct real name.
your.neighbor January 22, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Your request to the town was denied, and rightly so. FID cards and handgun permits are not issued by the town. The police are the ones who investigate and then issue the permit. As they are police investigations, they are not public record. If there is a shooting range open to citizens within the town or within audible range of Wayne, it’s news to me. I can almost guarantee that whatever gun shots you are hearing are coming from a law enforcement officer at a LE only range. You may have me confused with someone else. This is the first time I have ever posted here and I do live in Wayne.
stewart resmer January 23, 2013 at 01:29 AM
yes I did confuse you with another, you guys are so alike its hard to tell you apart! lol well we will just have to wait and see how the OPRA shakes out in the long run wont we? Why who knows maybe even the governor might be rethinking whats going on, even though he just kicked the can down the road for 2 months right? you're not my neighbor, my neighbors engage me in thoughtful dialogue and exchange of views to my face, yer an anon poster who hides behind a nome de plume with out the strength of your convictions for not using your true and correct real name, what are you so afraid of?
stewart resmer January 23, 2013 at 04:51 PM
woopsie it was you after all that said that wasnt it? Your Neighbor 5:08 pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 The title of the article suggests that this was written by a resident of Bridgewater, but it was not. The letter specifically mentions Bridgewater, yet the author of this letter seems to be, judging by his signature a resident of Wayne. I would like to know why a resident of Wayne is interested in finding out who owns guns in Bridgewater!
stewart resmer February 05, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Detective accidentally shoots self in leg at Gloucester County Justice Complex
stewart resmer February 13, 2013 at 09:34 PM
N.J. Assembly panel OKs gun control measures as crowd packs hearing It also passed legislation to exempt firearms records from the state’s open public records law. Assembly committee considered 24 gun control bills today. http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/NJ_lawmakers_consider_25_bills_reforming_gun_laws.html?page=all
stewart resmer February 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM
'The number of permit seekers has skyrocketed and in Wayne authorities are seeing more than double their usual amount, Reardon says.' WayneToday.com And as they do We The People are forbiden to know how many and what sort of weapons are about. Unequal protection under the law for the rest of us?
stewart resmer February 24, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Governor Christie A-3788, is an example of runaway government that promulgates unequal protection under the law. Allow me to explain? Due to the peculiar nature of the instrument, a firearm, a projectile is fired under extreme pressure with the capabilities to travel many Hundreds of feet per second, over a distance of multiples of hundreds of yards with great force upon impact. Yet under this proposed bill, I am deprived the right to know who has what weapons within proximity of my person thus potentially depriving me of life from being unable to assess the threat and danger of such instrument fired by will or accident and take precaution to protect myself in either case while the bill supercedes and subordinates my right to life but rather preserves and protects privacy of holders of permits and weapons. Further under common law as referenced under the Statement, this bill seeks to strip me of my common law access to that information. In 2 instances the Townships of Bridgewater (OPRA 12-681) and Wayne (OPRA 12-698) have already denied me the right to aforesaid information citing Regulation and not law. Strike down this bill.
John Davies April 01, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Sound like Stewart wants to know which of his neighbors he should avoid p***ing off!
stewart resmer August 21, 2013 at 07:02 AM
heres an update: NRA Hates Keeping Lists of Gun Owners, Except for Its Own Secret Database New York Magazine - 4 hours ago The NRA's response: That's not any of your business. How The NRA Built A Massive Secret Database Of Gun ... - BuzzFeed www.buzzfeed.com/stevefriess/how-the-nra-built-a-massive-secret-database-of-gun-... 7 hours ago ... How The NRA Built A Massive Secret Database Of Gun Owners ... years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, ... How The NRA Built A Massive Secret Database Of Gun Owners www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/how-the-nra-built-a-massive-secret-database-of... 7 hours ago ... How The NRA Built A Massive Secret Database Of Gun Owners. BuzzFeed .... Heckle: Selling their list Just like every other corporate gifter.
Scondo August 22, 2013 at 09:29 AM
If there are 200 million guns in the US, a widely accepted number , and if there are fewer than 4.5 million NRA members, then the NRA would never have a realistic ability to compile an ownership data base. What we really need is a firearms purchase license similar to a drivers license. The photo of the person , holographic security details and other pertinent data right on the card. That purchase license can be suspended just as a drivers license can be suspended for things such as domestic abuse, voluntary or involuntary commitment, suidcide attempt, convictions, drug and or alcohol offenses. And even such things as failure to secure firearms or accidental discharge. Each state would issue that card, which would then be contained in a database. The card would only be issued after background check. Right now the permitting process is well beyond the 30 day maximum that the law calls for. This is due to the overwhelming demand for permits.
Bobtwo August 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM
I am neither for nor against guns or the NRA. What Scondo proposes sounds like more government control. The government has its nose in to many things.
Scondo August 23, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Actually, Bob, the control that is now in place is far more burdensome than what I propose. I propose a license to own, purchase, carry and transport all in one little card. Now they have multiple checks , mental health, domestic violence, drug , public health safety and welfare , "other". And they are taking more than the statutory time period for processing.

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