Piscataway officials seek to ban gun sales in the town
Piscataway officials say that they want to ban gun sales within the town and say that they have found a constitutional way to do it.
“It’s local people taking a stand,” says Councilman Steven Cahn.
A proposed ordinance would ban gun retailers from opening within a 1,000 feet of schools, parks, bars and places of worship. Cahn says that the only zones left in town would be residential or the wetlands.
“We felt looking at a map of our town, knowing our town very well, that a 1,000 feet would best protect our community and would still pass the constitutional test,” Cahn says.
The ordinance comes on the heels of several recent high-profile mass shootings across the country.
But some gun advocates say that the only gun sales that would be banned in Piscataway would be legal ones.
“I think it’s a kneejerk reaction, typically for a politician’s publicity stunt,” says Middlebrook Firearms owner Art Seccato. “[Criminals] are going to use any gun they can find that they buy off the street to commit their crime, regardless of the gun free school zone sign.”
Middlebrook Firearms is just a few miles away from Piscataway. Anyone can come in and buy a firearm as long as they have a state firearms ID card or pistol purchaser permit. Middlebrook also has a rule that states that no one in the shop can even handle a gun unless they have the proper credentials.
“There have been some people we’ve asked to leave the store because we have in-house rules,” Seccato says.
The ordinance in Piscataway is expected to pass in June. More municipalities could follow suit.
New Jersey’s federal lawmakers are also backing a national handgun licensing and registration act. It would also restrict gun sales to those over 21 years old.
“To those who think their privacy is more important than the safety and security of any one life, I say to them, they are wrong,” says Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.
The idea for the ordinance comes from Alameda county, California, where a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last year that that county had the right to ban gun shops within 500 feet of schools and other buildings.