MacArthur vs. Lonegan on Guns

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Tom MacArthur (left) and Steve Lonegan (right) are vying for the CD3 GOP nomination.

Tom MacArthur (left) and Steve Lonegan (right) are vying for the CD3 GOP nomination.

Updated 12:55 p.m.

Our old friend Frank Luna (currently serving as Tom MacArthur’s campaign manager) reached out after this post went live to clarify his candidate’s position/record where bow hunting is concerned, Save Jerseyans:

“Tom supported easing the restrictions on bow hunting, greatly expanded deer hunt in town, increased hunting permits by 50% over 3 years, and made it legal to hunt on municipal properties where it was previously outlawed. This is another Lonegan attack that is simply not true and personifies his flailing, desperate, poorly run campaign. No wonder he has been rejected by the Party faithful in Burlington and Ocean Counties.”

Original Post

The Second Amendment isn’t necessarily a top tier issue for most federal campaigns’ messaging in 2014, Save Jerseyans, and the GOP leadership is too busy sticking its collective foot in in its mouth to care. What else is new?

But that doesn’t mean it’s an unimportant issue for GOP base voters whom individual campaigns in lean-red districts hope to reach, particularly right here at home in New Jersey where the state legislature has generated dozens of new gun control bills in recent months. New Jersey and the 2A was even a topic at this past weekend’s National Rifle Association (NRA) conference in Indiana. Rightly so.

Save Jersey readers following the MacArthur v. Lonegan primary battle keep asking me this question, so you should know that both CD3 Republican candidates have staked out unambiguously pro-2A positions. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few nuances for political nerds and issue advocates to analyze. There always are…

Don’t look for nuance on their respective pages. Tom MacArthur’s website states that he’s “a long-standing supporter of the Second Amendment and will defend the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families, to hunt, to collect, and to shoot competitively or recreationally – as Tom and his daughter enjoy doing.”

Steve Lonegan’s issue page is no less direct (or vague), declaring that Steve supports the individual right to keep and bear arms and opposes new federal gun control laws.

Where are the nuts buried? Lonegan, for example, endorsed the premise of “universal mandatory background checks” gun control legislation back in 2013 during a U.S. campaign appearance on MSNBC, a position that’s anathema to the NRA:

Under the original Toomey/Manchin legislation, doctors wouldn’t have committed a HIPAA violation by submitting health records into the national background check system, Internet sales would have require a background check (muc of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooter’s arsenal was purchased online), and the so-called “gun show loophole” would’ve been shuttered. Person-to-person exchanges would NOT, however, have been banned.

“While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg’s “universal” background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows,” the NRA had argued at the time. “The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.”

The NRA had supported expanded background checks in years past including after a different Colorado massacre at Columbine High School, but changing politics and privacy fears led to a reversal since the 1990s. Republican base boogeyman New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stated goal behind his latest $50 million dollar ad campaign is the adoption of national universal background checks.

Tom MacArthur watchers don’t have the benefit Steve Lonegan’s extensive record of public statements in statewide or federal races to drawn upon, but the Daily Caller recently tried to make hay out of then-Councilman MacArthur’s comments on bow hunting at an August 4, 2011 Randolph council meeting:

Councilman MacArthur noted that an amendment to the law was due that would change the distance from 450 feet to 150 feet. The Councilman asked when that new law would take effect.

Mr. Prata responded that the new law was enacted last year and is in effect.

Councilman MacArthur asked if bows such as compound bows and crossbows would be included in the hunt and if there are any limitations.

Mr. Perez responded that all bows mentioned by Councilman MacArthur would be legal.

Councilman MacArthur noted that while he is generally supportive, he is concerned with safety. The Councilman asked if the Township had any legal right to make the state law more restrictive.

Mr. Prata responded that the state does control the hunt.

That was pretty much the end of it by all accounts; there’s no indication that MacArthur went beyond questioning the safety of bows using levering system within city limits and pushed for any changes in state law, something which this blogger would never support and I suspect neither would most of this blog’s readership.

Just don’t be surprised if you see either background checks or compound bows emerge as issues down the final primary season stretch, Save Jerseyans, as both contenders’ campaigns continue their aggressive hunt for a general election House race berth. NRA ratings are also expected out any day now… we’ll update our own analysis if/when either guy goes on record concerning concealed carry or any of the other hot #2A sub-topics.

Where does the presumptive Democrat nominee Aimee Belgard stand on guns? Good question. Ask her if you get a chance. Google doesn’t reveal much…

belgard gun control

Well, it’s about as nuanced a position as her Obamacare “fix” comments!

 

Matt Rooney

Matt Rooney

Save Jersey’s Founder and Blogger-in-Chief, Matt Rooney is a widely-respected New Jersey political commentator, practicing attorney at the law firm of DeMichele & DeMichele in Haddon Heights, and a graduate of the Rutgers Camden School of Law.

36 Comments

  1. The question is *NOT* does a candidate “Support the Second Amendment”. The Question must be “Do you support the right of the individual to *CARRY* a handgun on their person for the protection of their life and family”. The fact that MacArthur supports hunting and target shooting leaves me asking the question “{What about CARRY”?

    • Frank, don’t make the same mistake you did last year, when you supported a candidate who ran against NRA A-Rated Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon because you “didn’t know” how strong Declan was on the Second Amendment.

      BOTH Lonegan and MacArthur are pro-second amendment. Don’t set out to make an enemy of a friend. It’s not your war.

      • That’s OK, Julia. Please don’t concern yourself with my mistakes. I am sure that you make enough of your own to keep you busy. :-) In addition, if people expect our support, they need to do MORE than just talk about RKBA. We have not has any contact from Declan, nor have we received any contact from MacArthur. Neither are members, nor have they expressed ANY interest in our mission or activities. People like Steve Lonegan and Rich Pezzullo *ARE* involved. They “show up”. So, *IF* you are going to presume to give *ME* advice, I suggest you check your premise first. You will find that you are laboring under a misconception.

        • Let me get this straight. Are you saying that even if you have a 100% NRA rating as a legislator and have to fight the gun-grabbers every day and put up with all their nonsense coming at you, BUT if you don’t play in Frank Jack Fiamingo’s sandbox then it doesn’t matter?

          Are you saying that ALL involvement in this issue flows through YOU? I suppose there are a lot of lifetime activists around the region who have never heard of you and who would be surprised to learn that.

          • Julia (or whoever you really are) since only Barbara and I have enough conviction of our beliefs to use our real names instead of hiding behind a fake moniker, I feel completely justified in ignoring you are your ridiculous comments. I laugh in your general direction.

            • Don’t confuse “conviction” with having a big fat ego. As a self-identified atheist, I’m certain that you do feel completely justified as you are the beginning and the end of all things. Nevertheless you have been caught short and have no retort, so the laugh, my good man, is on you.

      • Gee, I am guessing that Rich Pezzullo is making some significant inroads toward getting the nod in the primaries. All the innuendo spinners are coming out of whatever holes they normally reside in to create as much dissention as possible. It certainly is easier than finding something POSITIVE to say about their own chosen candidate. :-)

        • Wowza Frank! “Innuendo spinners”? Is Rich one of those because it came out of his mouth and onto the pages of the Star Ledger of March 3, 2014. Rich said he was at the Union County meeting. Here is the DIRECT quote:

          “On social issues, Pezzullo is not easily classified. He opposes abortion and says he is pro-gun rights. But he also favors permitting same-sex marriage and opposes the death penalty.

          ‘My Second Amendment friends love me, but they have a problem with me because I don’t support the death penalty,’ he said. ‘My pro-life friends love me because I’m 100% pro-life, but they have problems with me because I support marriage equality.'”

          So I’m guessing you didn’t figure this out for yourself and are shooting from the hip again? Or maybe you support Rich on these positions.

            • You must be Rick. Well, sneer away, because you having nothing left to say. You have been caught out by your own candidate — his words — and he never asked the Star Ledger for a correction.

              The lack of belief does make for a certain arrogance, doesn’t it?

      • He’s doing it again, and called me a “child molester” for not supporting “unrestricted hip carry”. He also flipped out when I asked him if Tom had donated to the cause.

  2. More and more people I speak with in NJ WANT the right to carry! These are non political people….just citizens who defend their right to defend themselves….anytime, anywhere.

    • Barb, are you aware that you are supporting a pro-same-sex marriage candidate for the U.S. Senate? That is a big departure from the past.

  3. Second Amendment is NOT about hunting, period. If a candidate does not understand that, he has no place calling himself (or herself) a Second Amendment supporter.

    • Max, you are 100% correct. Hunting regulations in NJ are already clearly established limitations, including a magazine restriction that has been on the books for years. Deer-hunting with firearms here is shotgun or black powder only, so my Marlin Levers (336 in 30.30 WIN and a 444 in, well, 444 Marlin) are only good for target shooting here in NJ. Just as well, in my case.
      I don’t hunt. I am capable, and support hunting as a wildlife management technique as well as a sporting activity. I only support SAFE and intelligent use of firearms under any circumstances. The Second Amendment is a part of the Constitution, and as such, I and my fellow Democratic-Republicans understand completely that it, as with other amendments, are meant to be a bit in the mouth of the Federal Government, with the reins held by We, the People, twitched at the polls as necessary. I have spoken at length with the good folks at Henry Repeating Arms (manufactured right here in NJ), btw, regarding the magazine limit legislation, and was pleased to know that the retrofit for the magazine tube on the my (soon to be my son’s) Henry 22LR can be accomplished for less than 30 dollars . Cheap compliance, as this is never the long gun I would reach for to use for home protection.
      As a Scout, I joined the NRA at an early age, but only renewed my membership as an adult when I became a Scoutmaster, as I instructed Archery marksmanship (known as “the arrow whisperer” at NoBeBoSco), and wanted to become RSO certified, if we ever found our Troop without a local instructor.
      Coming from where I do in the District, that’s never really become an issue, thanks to the folks at Delran Marksmen, a local range/club with an excellent NRA youth program run in past years by Larry Boyd, father of competitive CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program, Tom)shooter Carol Boyd (USN). (I was Carol’s youth soccer coach). With police officers in the family, I differ somewhat from Mr. Fiamingo on certain aspects of personal defense, but he and I agree that education, competence, and awareness of your environment are what makes a safe shooter. We discussed exactly that, and other topics, when we met at the diner on Route 9 in Manahawkin, so that he could make me aware of his efforts with NJ2AS. He knows precisely where I stand. He also knows I’m not a “pistol guy”, like my father-in-law –only long guns.
      Democrat Aimee Belgard will likely take no position on firearms, because the closed mouth gathers no foot.
      Mr. MacArthur pretends to be a lot of things, so this position is not surprising to me. Having your picture taken in a kayak makes you no more an outdoorsman than standing in a garage makes you a car.
      As to Steve – he’s not really a shooter, himself, due to his eyesight, but it’s not his lack of eyesight that worries me with Mr. Lonegan, however…it is his lack of vision. Sorry for the digression.
      Mr. Lonegan, I said it last year, and I will repeat it again…if you’re going to sing loudest in the choir, it’s a good idea to know the words in the hymnal. This link takes you to the ad that Mr. Lonegan distributed last year in the Senate race. The guys at Cheyenne Mountain in Bordentown are still chuckling about this. Read the WORDS…(then check your pocket Constitution).
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/174764430/Lonegan-Staff-Screw-the-Pooch-on-Second-Amendment
      (Sorry for the not-so-very-polite title on that.)
      The trouble with this ad from last year is not the clerical error. It is more subtle than that. Steve relied on others to read/write and proof-read something this critical to a position he claims to hold dear. Who will be reading the legislation he is supposed to make decisions on in Congress, if, by some nightmare, he were to be elected – the same incompetent staffer that put this ad together? If it was read to him incorrectly, how would he catch it? Bills are often written in negative language, as are ballot questions. If the staffers and Lonegan got this confused by a single complex sentence in a document that forms the root of how we are governed, what happens when it’s a more obscure topic for discussion/decision?
      MacArthur is nothing more than puffery…every time I peel back a layer, there’s no substance underneath.
      Folks, there is a fiscal conservative/social moderate on the ballot for CD3 in November…and he’s beholden to neither GILMORE nor NORCROSS. That would be ME.
      Steve – if you win the primary, I look forward to our debates. If you do not, I look forward to your endorsement.
      For the rest of the readers, I look forward to your support.

      Frederick John LaVergne, “Democratic-Republican” for Congress, NJ CD 3 2014
      https://www.facebook.com/FrederickJohnLaVergneForCongress?ref=hl
      “Stand for what’s right, or settle for what’s left” – FJL
      http://democratic-republicanparty.org

  4. Dear Goldberg/Sabrin staffer Julia,
    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, if your biggest knock against Pezzullo is “he’s cool with gay marriage” then you need to get your priorities in order. When you’ve got an isolationist and an abortionist in the room, I think gay marriage is permissible.

    • Dear Pezzullo/Marriage Equality/Ray Lesniak staffer Jersey Jim (see, two can be silly),

      I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. So I guess we disagree.

  5. Not saying Goldberg is literally an abortionist, but I was sticking with the -ist theme. Anyway this isn’t a US Senate debate, and I don’t think we need one here. Let’s talk CD3 – My fear is that MacArthur has positioned himself as more conservative than reality to win the primary. Personally, I don’t care which one of them wins – but Lonegan certainly has more conservative credo, if that’s what you’re in to.

  6. I agree with Frank though – people need to run their own races. Everyone’s a critic, but when you ask them to defend their own candidate they just get more and more defensive.

    • No one intentionally blocked your comment. At least no human. Rapid-fire posting (or using too many links) can draw the ire of my spam filter. It’s not a conspiracy! Carry on…

  7. Julia, I totally agree with you – I’m not a fan of marriage equality either. That said, it bothers me far less than Sabrin’s isolationism and Goldberg’s being pro-choice. I like Jeff Bell better than Pezzullo on paper, but from what I’m hearing he’s kinda sitting it out and not really getting around.

  8. I think Matt Rooney would appreciate it if we kept his CD3 article focused on CD3. This is a great article, Matt, and I’m glad you’re going to such lengths to get all the information out but letting voters make their own decisions based on facts.

  9. “Julia” is Bill Winkler who works for Murray Sabrin, the candidate who wants to legalize crack and prostitution.

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