The Sussex Borough council voted 5-0 Tuesday to make clear its opposition to gun control, including a new state law that allows guns to be taken away from someone considered a threat to themselves or others.
The resolution makes the entity “a “Second Amendment/lawful gun owner municipality,” and happens two weeks after a similar resolution was approved unopposed in West Milford.
This West Milford resolution was adopted on December 4, six days before the deadly shootings in in Jersey City killed four people, including a Jersey City police officer and three customers inside a grocery store.
Following this unfortunate event, Gov. Phil Murphy reiterated his call for federal gun legislation in attempt to reduce gun violence.
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However, the Sussex council, unlike West Milford, opted not to characterize the borough as a “sanctuary” for law-abiding gun owners, although regardless of the drafting, neither resolution overrides state and federal laws regulating guns and ammunition.
But there is one key aspect of both resolutions that makes them identical, when they assert that that the municipality “opposes gun control, ‘gun safety’ legislation, or ‘red flag laws,’ state, federal or local.”
New Jersey’s red flag law, which is formally known as the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018, took effect in September.
The New Jersey law allows for a judge – in response to a request from family or household members, or law enforcement – to order the removal of guns and ammunition from someone who “poses a significant danger of bodily injury to self or others,” as described in the statute.
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The legislation received crossover support from many Republicans, passing the Senate by 32-5 and Assembly by 59-12.
Christian Heyne, vice president of policy at Brady, affiliated American nonprofit organization that advocate for gun control and against gun violence. , criticized the Sussex Borough resolution and defended red flag laws as “a tool used by law enforcement to ensure that individuals who are most at risk to hurt themselves are not able to.”
According to Heyne, the effectiveness of this tool is supported by the statistics. “When over three out of five gun deaths in this country are death by suicide, ‘opposing’ this tested tool that has proven itself effective and life-saving is irresponsible and just flat out wrong.”
Sussex Borough voted on the pro-gun resolution at the behest of State Assemblyman Parker Space, R-24th District.
Space, who voted against the red flag law, said he sees the resolutions as a way to make a statement against the “gun-grabbers in Trenton.”
“Obviously, a resolution doesn’t supersede state law. It’s saying, enough is enough. We’re going to defend the Second Amendment,” Space said.
Space has asked shareholders’ meetings in Sussex and Warren counties to consider resolutions opposing gun control. He is optimistic about other municipalities taking a similar position considering that county and local jurisdictions in several states have adopted pro-gun resolutions this year.