Trenton’s debate simplified: Do guns kill people? Or the crazy people holding them?

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

YOU already know the answer to the question posed by this post’s title, Save Jerseyans, but it’s all about politics.

no gun sign 2
The gun free zone sign outside of the site of the recent Chattanooga shooting.

Chris Christie has gradually but consistently moved to the right on gun control issues since running for governor, a process which was accelerated by his run for president. Senate President Steve Sweeney, on the other hand, has dramatically tracked to the left on gun rights issues ahead of his anticipated 2017 gubernatorial campaign. Respect for the Second Amendment just doesn’t win votes in Democrat primaries…

The latest twist in this tug-of-war transpired on Friday when Tom Kean Jr. announced a forthcoming legislative push to change the law enforcement notice requirements for individuals with civil commitment records as well as incorporating the Governor’s proposed changes to the vetoed S2360 including a provision which would make it easier for New Jersey judges to involuntary commit someone.

Christie waded in immediately by offering Kean his support… and taking a shot at Sweeney.

“The issue of mental health and its impact on violent, sometimes deadly behavior in our society is too important an issue to play politics with,” the Governor explained in a statement. “Yet, that’s exactly what the Senate President has done. Rather than looking for common ground, the Senate President has rejected bipartisan compromise out of hand and put his own political grandstanding and gubernatorial candidacy ahead of public safety and fixing the gaps that exist in our mental health system.”

Tom Kean, Jr.
Tom Kean, Jr.

“What our state needs, and what I support, is a comprehensive solution that gets individuals with mental illness the treatment they need, while also helping professionals, courts and families to intervene when the warning signs of mental illness signal someone poses an imminent danger to themselves or others. Senate Minority Leader Kean has set aside politics and is working on a bill that represents such an approach, including a commonsense path forward on the issue of the expungement of mental health records to enhance public safety. I support his efforts and I will sign his legislation when it reaches my desk.”

We can debate the merits of Senator Kean’s bill from here til Sunday, folks, and we likely will at some point, but what we need to acknowledge from the onset (and continue to loudly explain to Second Amendment debate newcomers) is the fact that gun violence is not a product of gun ownership. The common thread in each and every recent mass shooting is untreated or undertreated mental illness. Or radical Islam. But that’s a subject for another post.

The point is that the ONLY point of Steve Sweeney’s gun-grabbing approach is to beat Phil Murphy/Ray Lesniak/Steven Fulop, whomever, in 2017. Period, end of sentence. Open your eyes and don’t fall for it.


Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.


  1. Here’s an inescapable truth: There have been 0 mass shootings in NJ, so enacting more gun laws as a preventative, does NOTHING to address the very real shootings between gangs and Criminals who use guns to commit crimes against the unarmed populace here. Oh sorry, it does do ‘something’…it slaps a feel-good political band aid over more restrictive laws already imposed upon the infringed law-abiding people who actually go through extensive background checks NOW, while CRIMINALS don’t. So just WHOM are you stopping?

  2. IMO, GFZ are magnets for attacks regardless of the attackers intent to ‘go out in a hail of bullets’. GFZ provide a ‘target rich’ environment where they can cause a high number of deaths/injuries with little fear of being stopped.

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