Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial ended in a hung jury two years ago. But while the New Jersey Democrat didn’t go to jail, there’s a group of people he wants locked up.
Out of state gun owners.
New Jersey has some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, and Sen. Menendez wants them applied to armed visitors with full force, declaring, “Lock ‘em up for 5 years.” He doesn’t care whether someone has a carry permit from another state, or even how they ended up in New Jersey; according to Menendez, travelers don’t “simply get detoured.” That would come as a surprise to Greg Revell.
Revell was flying to Pennsylvania with his legally stowed firearm when an airline delay forced him to stop in New Jersey. Revell had a valid Utah permit, but that didn’t matter: he was arrested and spent 10 days in jail. Shaneen Allen’s permit didn’t help her either, with the Philadelphia woman initially facing felony charges before being pardoned by then governor Chris Christie.
Menendez says this policy makes New Jersey “safer,” but the facts don’t agree. In 2017, there were over 1.2 million Texans licensed to carry; only three were convicted of murder and another three were convicted of manslaughter. If they formed their own state, its per capita murder rate would have been 0.48 per one hundred thousand residents (New Jersey's rate was 3.6). But while they rarely commit crimes, permit holders do stop them.
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Just days after the senator’s comments, Carlos Molina was eating at a restaurant when he used his gun to take down an armed robber. That incident wasn’t unique: you can find examples across the country of people using legally carried firearms to defend themselves and others. If you don’t agree with them accidentally becoming felons, then there’s something you can do: demand laws to protect them. Legislation to do so was tabled during the last Congress, but the GOP leadership didn't make passing it a priority. That needs to change.
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While a jury might still send Bob Menendez to prison, honest citizens shouldn’t be joining him. Because your right to life doesn't stop at the state line; neither should your right to defend it.
This article was originally published at Western Free Press.