NJ Politics Digest: These Congressmen Voted to Allow More Concealed Guns

Last week's school shooting in Florida has sparked concerns about gun violence and a national debate on gun control measures.

Tom MacArthur. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Last week’s school shooting in Florida has sparked concerns about gun violence and a national debate on gun control measures. It has also prompted fear and anger in New Jersey, with parents requesting their local schools be provided armed guards and students calling on politicians to tighten gun laws to protect them.

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The debate has also cast the spotlight on local politicians’ voting records on gun laws.

NJ.com reports that three New Jersey GOP congressmen—Tom MacArthur, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiondo—supported an NRA-backed measure that would make it easier for people from other states to carry concealed weapons in New Jersey. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act—the first gun bill voted on by Congress following the massacre of concert-goers in Las Vegas—would require states with tough gun laws, like New Jersey, to honor concealed weapons permits from other states.

All the state’s Democratic lawmakers, as well as Republicans Leonard Lance and Chris Smith, voted against the measure. MacArthur co-sponsored the law, saying it was needed to protect out-of-state law-abiding gun owners, who could be jailed if caught with a concealed weapon in New Jersey. The bill was a top legislative priority for the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Opponents, including law enforcement officials in some of the nation’s largest cities, argue the measure would gut local gun-control efforts and increase the danger for residents and law enforcement officers in their areas.

The NJ.com report notes that all the state’s Republican congressmen voted to overturn a law requiring the Social Security Administration report the names of those with mental illnesses that could be used when performing background checks for gun purchases, while Lance was one of only two Republicans in the House to vote against a measure that prevents the Department of Veterans Affairs from reporting veterans deemed mentally incompetent to the database used for background checks.

While President Donald Trump has not called for stricter gun laws in the wake of the Florida shooting, he has said more must be done to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness.

Quote of the Day: “We shouldn’t have to be standing here demanding for protection from the legislation. There should already be stricter gun laws implemented. There should already be changes going on.” — Toms River High School North Senior Evelyn Nazario.

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NJ Politics Digest: These Congressmen Voted to Allow More Concealed Guns