Senator Ed Durr (R-3) testified against new gun restrictions proposed by New Jersey Democrats (S-3214) that he says are unconstitutional during a hearing in the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee on October 27, 2022.
Sen. Ed Durr testified against new gun restrictions proposed by New Jersey Democrats that he says are unconstitutional during a hearing in the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee. (YouTube/NJ Senate Republicans)
Included below is his testimony as prepared for delivery:
Chairwoman Greenstein and members of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on this bill today. As a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment and the rights it protects, in a State that seems to pride itself on infringing on those rights, I feel obligated to put my concerns about this bill on the record.
If I were to sit here and list all the problems with this bill, we’d be here until sometime next week. Instead, I want to talk about the bigger picture.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court reminded everyone that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right – it must be given the same respect as any other constitutional right. That’s true whether the firearm owner is a wealthy business owner or a low-wage worker. We all have the right to self-defense. Yet, between all the high fees, insurance mandates, and intense regulatory requirements, this bill would make it pretty much impossible for a person of modest means to defend him or herself. High crime areas in our larger cities, and rural areas without local police departments, tend to have the greatest need for self-defense as well as the highest concentration of poverty. The bill also endangers victims of domestic violence by disarming them if they seek protection in a shelter.
I’ve heard the Assembly sponsor describe this bill as being about public safety. With all due respect to him, taking away the ability of our most vulnerable populations to protect themselves from danger seems to be the opposite of promoting public safety.
It is possible to care about public safety and Constitutional rights at the same time, I promise you. In fact, I’ve introduced several bills that do just that. I have a bill that recognizes the danger survivors of domestic violence might be in on a regular basis and puts them at the top of the list for review when they apply for a carry permit. I want them empowered to defend themselves if need be. You should want that too. I have another bill that encourages firearm safety training by offering a tax incentive, and another that helps low-income people pay for firearm safety training when they couldn’t otherwise afford it. These are the kinds of things we should be doing to keep the people of this state safe, not disarming the public as crime rates and carjackings soar.
Over the last two years, I’ve been scratching my head trying to understand why people who claim to have such serious concern for public safety would, at the same time, be so eager to grant early release to almost half of our prison population. But I get it now – you were making room for all the responsible, but unlucky, gun owners who are going to unintentionally violate this bill. As a matter of fact, you’re not even stopping at gun owners, you’re also trying to lock up grandmas for three to five years for daring to bring a new set of kitchen knives home to their rented apartments. This isn’t about safety. It’s about control.
I’ll close with this – when we the People see our lawmakers citing overtly racist laws from the 1600s as justification to take away our constitutionally-protected rights, as we see in this bill’s findings and declarations section, and when we hear one of the most senior Democrat senators in the State proudly declare that he quote “didn’t give a damn about the Constitution,” and we hear Assembly members defiantly announce that the Constitution is not their priority, we have to wonder – does the constitution mean anything at all to New Jersey’s Democrats?
All of us swore an oath to support the U.S. Constitution when we took office. Many of you have sworn that oath multiple times. My constituents know they can count on me to continue abiding by my oath; I hope you prove the same to your constituents today by voting no on this unconstitutional abomination.
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