Gun Legislation Debate Ignites Again

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reignited a national debate on gun control laws. In response to this tragedy, Governor Phil Murphy promised New Jersey even stricter gun safety measures in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

"We cannot pull Congress’ feet from the fire, there must be action in Washington”

Governor Murphy isnt wait for Congress to act. He is proposing sweeping gun control legislation that would include:

-Banning .50 caliber assault rifles

-Stricter background checks

-Require that people who want to purchase a gun show a “justifiable need”

I spoke with the owners of the Garden State Shooting Center and they believe that 'stricter gun laws will only affect the law abiding gun owners - again the term criminals, criminals don’t care about laws."

However, the owners of the Garden State Shooting Center believe the that New Jersey gun laws are sufficient as they are.

Jeff Greene, owner of The Garden State Shooting Center says, "Every gun owner has to obtain a firearms purchaser id which is a state and federal background check. With every gun that is purchased, there is a federal background check processed at the time of purchase. No one is walking out of this store without some proper vetting at the state and federal level."

The gun shop owners feel there is a common misconception and would like to set the record straight.

Tony Altieri, Vice President of Garden State Shooting Center explains, "This is an AR-15. This is the same weapon that was used by Nicholas Cruz in the Florida shootings. This is a semi-automatic rifle, just like the AR-15, an identical rifle. Yet, they want to get rid of this one and not this one."

Students and activists spent President’s Day rallying in Toms River, pressuring Rep. Tom MacArthur and other lawmakers to enforce stricter gun laws.

I spoke with a woman whose grandson attends the Toms River School District and she said, "It's really sad that kids nowadays have to go through training"

I asked her, if there is a shooter, and there is no one armed to take care of a situation, how do you feel about guns then?

She replied, "I dont think its appropriate to have armed teachers, if thats where youre going, absolutely not."

Another student who graduated from the Toms River School District said, "You either use it to hunt, or you use for protection. If you use for protection, use a pistol, if you want to hunt you use a shot gun, the idea of having an assault rifle is just completely ludicrous."

The President of the Toms River Board of Education was receptive to this public outcry for gun safety measures.

Russell Corby, the President of the Toms River Board of Education says, "I think we adults speak to our students we expect them to listen. This is their chance - they want to speak to us today. Maybe we adults are the ones who should be listening!"

Now we wait, as lawmakers have been called on for Congress to take action, in hopes of preventing a future tragedy.

For the full story that aired on 'Jersey Matters,' visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f19xXWjnNww&t=59s

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