After hearing about the alarmingly high number of school shootings, 74 in 2014 alone, I decided to write a letter to my congressman, Chris Smith.
Smith has refused to co-sponsor a federal bill, H.R. 1565, for expanded background checks on firearms. This bill would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and I wanted to know why he hasn’t supported it publicly.
Smith’s office responded to my inquiry with an explanation, which included that he supported the Brady Handgun Bill in 1993. Thank you, Congressman, for supporting common sense in 1993, but what about now?
Due to NRA-influenced politicians, much of the Brady Bill has become irrelevant. So, by stating two decades-old support of the Brady bill, Smith’s response is also irrelevant.
What is relevant is that America leads developed nations in homicide by gun, suicide by gun, mass shootings, accidental death of children by gun, school shootings, and women shot by domestic abusers. Where is Smith’s current support for gun sense?
New Jersey gun laws are strong, but our neighboring states have weak laws and criminals go to those states to acquire weapons. New Jersey is the No. 1 importer of illegal guns in the nation.
These illegal guns ravage our cities, endanger our police, and are used to kill our civilians, as evidenced in recent events, including in Jersey City and West Orange this summer, as well as the Short Hills Mall shooting last holiday season. Federal law is important for New Jersey.
Smith should stop hiding behind what he did in 1993 because it has no impact on today.
Congressman Smith’s constituents overwhelmingly support expanded background checks on firearms. He should too.
This letter also appeared in the Asbury Park Press.