Dan Cruz, a Republican who ran against Robert Menendez in 2021 and lost to the incumbent, State Senator Oroho, is running again to unseat Menendez in 2024. Cruz, who is aiming high nationally, has also been keeping an eye on state legislation, and he recently criticised a piece of gun control legislation (A-4769) introduced by Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen.
This bill would, among other things, increase the cost of obtaining a firearms ID, impose stricter ownership requirements on those seeking concealed carry permits for handguns, and prohibit carrying firearms in a wide variety of public places.
Flaming debates between the bill’s Republican backers and Republican opponents, led by Assemblyman Brian Bergen, were a focal point of the divisive legislation. One Republican in the Assembly argued that it would be impossible to really secure insurance coverage for concealed carry permit holders in New Jersey because of this provision of the bill.
The Assembly, where Democrats have a majority, voted the bill through as predicted. Paterson native and current Sussex County resident Cruz testified against the bill before the State Senate, taking particular exception to words he claims was used by Assemblyman John McKeon. Cruz claimed the law was racist because it made it more difficult for low-income people in metropolitan areas to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The law is a direct reaction to the decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen by the United States Supreme Court. New Jersey used to be one of the states where getting a concealed carry permit necessitated proof of a “justifiable need.” However, the condition for a reasonable need was struck down by the Supreme Court. Democratic legislators have responded with new legislation.
Cruz started off by explaining his background: “I was born and reared in Paterson, New Jersey, and I was once classified a juvenile delinquent, yet here I am now speaking in front of you guys, but only because something plagued me in the last few weeks.”
“Does anyone really want to put more firearms in the hands of folks who reside in Paterson, Newark, Elizabeth, and Camden to say, oh, the money you’re charging isn’t fair?” asked State Assemblyman John McKeon. As outrageous as those comments were, they had no place being said. A definition, please. That residents in Paterson and Newark cannot have any guns or cannot apply for a concealed permit?”
Cruz said, “My wife and I own a business.” We conduct deliveries all times of the day in different cities and municipalities in the state of New Jersey. The presence of potentially dangerous individuals in the city is no reason to assume that armed citizens will be present at all times.
Maybe you haven’t seen it, but there are now crooks out there with guns. When I’m in Paterson or Newark’s South Ward, I always have to keep an eye on my surroundings. That being the case, why not extend the same possibilities to those living in urban cores? Have the right to keep and bear arms?”
Cruz added that while he was upset about the increase in fees for obtaining firearms, New Jersey’s urban people were preoccupied with other issues, such as dealing with the high expenses of gasoline.
They haven’t given this bill any consideration. It’s likely that the vast majority of those individuals are completely unaware that this bill even exists. John McKeon, a member of the California State Assembly, made a profoundly racist remark.
If you are one of the many people in this room who heard the State Assemblyman’s remarks and did nothing to correct him, you should consider yourself complicit in the situation. You would have had a field day in the media had that been a Republican, labelling that person a racist. Have a look at the bill, please.
Cruz mentioned recent gun crimes in Paterson and Newark, such as a bust of 15 people selling illegal guns and a teenager bringing a gun into a Newark high school. Cruz stated of the bill, “This does not mean that this is going to halt illegal guns in our state.” At the end of his speech, he said, “Law-abiding responsible citizens deserve the right to bear arms.”