When New Jersey’s anti-gun Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy tried to capitalize on the weekend shooting at a Trenton arts festival by declaring that now is a great time to “talk about gun policy,” the chairman of a national gun rights organization quickly called him out.
“Yes, let’s talk about New Jersey’s abysmal gun policy,” said Alan Gottlieb, head of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Let’s hear Murphy explain how keeping honest citizens disarmed while criminals like Tahaji Wells, who just got out of prison in February and should not have had a firearm at all under existing law, are released early where they can prey upon innocent, and defenseless, Garden State residents.”
Police fatally shot Wells, who reportedly wounded 17 people. Several others were injured in the melee. Another suspect remains in custody on weapons violations.
Murphy has been a staunch gun control advocate, having recently signed several pieces of anti-gun legislation.
“Let’s hear from Murphy,” Gottlieb challenged, “about how citizen disarmament laws, that are anti-self-defense, aren’t strong enough. Maybe the governor can explain why local police agencies are allowed to sit on gun purchase applications while innocent people like Carol Bowne are murdered in the driveway of her Berlin Township home.”
Bowne was stabbed to death in 2015 by a man against whom she had a restraining order. Her application to buy a gun gathered dust on a police chief’s desk for weeks, and was still there when the fatal attack occurred. The murder captured national headlines.
“Maybe Murphy can expound on the right of self-defense, and defense of others, as happened over the weekend in Washington State,” Gottlieb suggested. “Out in the Evergreen State Sunday afternoon, an armed citizen stopped a crazed gunman in a Walmart parking lot, possibly saving several lives because – unlike in New Jersey – Evergreen State residents can carry sidearms for personal protection against such criminals.”
The suspect in that incident has been identified by the Thurston County coroner as 44-year-old Tim Day of McCleary, in Washington’s Grays Harbor county. A motive for his crime spree has yet to be established, but he was stopped in his tracks by an armed citizen.
Day, according to the Seattle Times, has a criminal history that includes felony assault, making threats and violating a domestic violence protection order. How he got a firearm has not been established. It’s not likely he had it legally.