Anti-gun local governments in one New Jersey county have taken votes against the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that may represent the philosophical divide between elected officials and their constituents when it comes to civil rights: Politicians don’t trust armed citizens, but those citizens trust each other.
According to NorthJersey.com, officials in several Bergen County towns have “adopted resolutions opposing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would require all states to recognize permits issued by other states, including ones with less-stringent laws.”
Town governments in Fort Lee, Teaneck Township and a few other towns have adopted the resolutions. But an online (unscientific) survey by the Asbury Park Press had a stunning result. Ninety-three percent of the respondents support reciprocity when asked “Should New Jersey be forced to recognize gun permits issued by other states?” Only 7 percent disagreed.
New Jersey is a “may issue” state, so local law enforcement has broad discretionary power to deny permit applications, which is typically the case. This system came under heavy criticism more than two years ago when a Berlin township woman, Carol Bowne, was brutally murdered in her driveway by a man against whom she had a protection order. At the time, Bowne was waiting for the police chief to approve her gun permit application, which had been gathering dust on his desk for weeks.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich told NorthJersey.com, “If anyone is going to have a concealed weapon, it should be based on an application that should be made to the appropriate authority in New Jersey…I’ll be damned if a state with liberality hands out concealed gun permits and I’ve got them in my town every day.”
Sokolich also insisted that his town “is respectful of the Constitution and recognizes the Second Amendment…” The town essentially doesn’t have a choice in the matter, since the Second Amendment is the law of the land. It was incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment in June 2010 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Chicago handgun ban in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, which was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation.
The New Jersey town governments can pass all the resolutions they want, but if Congress approves the reciprocity legislation – which has languished in the House under Speaker Paul Ryan, much to the consternation and frustration of gun owners who put the GOP in control on Capitol Hill – that law will have to be followed. Garden State town councils cannot declare their communities “sanctuaries” against the Bill of Rights.