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NJTVNEWS.COM January 27, 2020 – A grassroots movement is growing among gun rights advocates in New Jersey, enlisting town halls in small, mostly rural sections of the state in their battle against gun laws imposed by Trenton, considered to be among the toughest in the nation.
“I would believe the right to own a gun is probably being threatened, yes,” said Dean Voris, the owner of the Garriss General Store in Stillwater Township, a rural Sussex County community that’s home to avid hunters and others who believe their Second Amendment rights are under attack.
The township committee last week adopted a resolution declaring Stillwater a “Pro Second Amendment/Lawful Gun Owner Township” — the latest in a series of such resolutions adopted in small and rural towns across the state. Some, like West Milford, have passed resolutions labeling their municipalities Second Amendment “sanctuary” communities.
The resolution had the enthusiastic support of the crowd lined up for lunch at Garris’, a new business in a building dating almost to the Civil War, even though the measure is nonbinding and not much more than a statement of support for the rights to own a gun.
“I’d rather have one and not need it, than need one and not have it,” said resident Matt Haight.
Deputy Mayor George Scott was at a standing-room meeting of the township committee last week and voted for the resolution. “You have to make a stand, sooner or later — it’s just getting out of line,” he said.
“I think the excesses have been so extreme,” said Bill Szabo, another of Stillwater’s 4,000 residents, who spoke in support of the resolution at the meeting on Tuesday.
New Jersey’s gun control laws impose undue burdens on law-abiding gun owners, he maintained, “by increasing costs dramatically on anything having to do with buying guns or trading, whatever.”
The measure also criticizes New Jersey’s controversial red flag law — designed to remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. Scott believes it denies gun owners due process.
“The legal gun owners, we’re the ones that are suffering on all this. And it’s a shame,” he added. “Parker Space was right. It’s time to say, ‘stop.’”
The reference was to state Assemblyman Parker Space, a Wantage Republican who has been promoting boilerplate Second Amendment resolutions in towns across Sussex County.
“I think it sends a strong message to what I call the gun-grabbing legislators in Trenton,” he said during an interview in a room festooned with hunting trophies at his family business, Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Wantage.
“He is pushing that component to a lot of towns,” said Stillwater Mayor Lisa Chammings, who voted against the measure. “And, I guess in this area, he’s got a lot of audience.”
A similar campaign is gaining traction in mostly red and rural communities in South Jersey. All told, almost a dozen towns — plus Cape May County — have adopted similar resolutions.
Nick Joseph is the co-founder of a group called NJ2A Sanctuary.
“We have at least a group of advocates for every single county, and they are actively getting people to get up off the couch and send out the resolutions,” he said. “And by sending out these resolutions, I think that we’re sending a strong message to our state government, saying that people in New Jersey, regardless of what some may think, have a lot of support for our Second Amendment.” [full article]