This letter from a constituent, to Tom MacArthur, has gone unanswered and is republished here by permission.
March 8, 2017
Dear Representative MacArthur,
The purpose of this letter is to followup my March 1, 2017, letter by providing additional information and to ask additional questions concerning H.R. 38, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017”.
I have a copy of your response to one of your constituents. Your undated letter provides:
“As a gun owner and long-standing supporter of the Second Amendment, I am committed to defending the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens. We all have the right to protect ourselves, our families and our property, to hunt, to collect firearms, and to shoot for sport. For these reasons, I signed on as a cosponsor of this legislation.”
Your letter does not address the intent of H.R. 38. H.R. 38 does not address the right “to hunt, to collect firearms, and to shoot for sport”, H.R. 38 pertains to “Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms”.
H.R. 38 will amend Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, specifically §926C. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law enforcement officers.
It is my understanding that 38 states honor the provisions of 926C. If there is an issue that every states does not honor the provisions of 926C, perhaps the language in same should be amended to allow qualified retired law enforcement officers the ability to carry throughout the United States.
Clearly, the provisions of H.R. 38 should not amend a law that strictly pertains to the carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law enforcement officers.
H.R. 38 would strip away New Jersey’s right to regulate who can lawfully carry a concealed handgun in New Jersey (Subchapter 2. Handguns 13:54-2.1 Permit to carry a handgun. http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/pdf/firearms/njac-title13-ch54.pdf).
H.R. 38 would strip away New Jersey’s right to regulate the type of ammunition and the capacity of ammunition magazines.
In your response letter to your constituent, you refer to “law-abiding citizens and H.R. 38 provides “… a person who is not prohibited by Federal law …” however, not every state performs background checks prior to the issuance of a permit to purchase and possess a weapon. In those states, it is the word/statement of an individual that he/she is not prohibited by Federal law to purchase, posses and/or carry a weapon.
In some states, on the same day that an individual applies for a permit, he/she can purchase a weapon. With that in mind, can you honestly say that all individuals who purchase, possess, or carry a weapon are law-abiding citizens?
During your March 6, 2017, town hall meeting in Waretown NJ, you shared a story that helped in your decision to co-sponsor H.R. 38. You spoke of how a mother, with two children in a car, crossed a bridge from Pennsylvania into New Jersey. Apparently, the woman was subject to a lawful stop and when she was approached by the law enforcement officer, she indicated that she had a handgun in her purse. Since the woman violated New Jersey law, she was arrested, charged and was subsequently incarcerated for several months.
While I appreciate that you feel empathy for the woman, have you reviewed law enforcement records/statics (over the past 5/10 years) of the number of individuals arrested for unlawful possession of weapons? Were same individuals convicted criminals and/or the subject of an active warrant?
Additionally, the federal laws intended to prevent access to firearms by domestic abusers have significant limitations including loopholes which allow access to guns by convicted stalkers and abusers subject to protective orders that cover the period before a hearing.
The lack of a requirement for a federal background check before every sale of a gun enables domestic abusers to obtain the firearms they use against their victims.
The federal prohibitions on firearms possession by domestic abusers do not ensure that guns that are already in the possession of an abuser are removed.
Fortunately, “In New Jersey, law enforcement must remove firearms observed at the scene if law enforcement has probable cause to believe domestic violence has occurred and reasonably believes these firearms expose the victim to danger. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21(d).)”
“In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners. (Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Gun Laws and Violence Against Women, at http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/9/e9/e/1726/Gun_Laws_and_Violence_Against_Women.pdf.)”
Combined with federal loopholes and the lack of state background checks, H.R. 38 would, regardless of intent, allow domestic violence abusers and stalkers, carrying a concealed weapon, to cross state lines in order to hunt down their victims; an estimated 80% of all domestic violence victims are female.
During my lifetime, I have met too many domestic violence victims; women who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, who are unable to work, who have lost their homes, etc. and it is unacceptable that H.R. 38 would significantly increase the threat level of domestic violence victims. It is worth repeating, an estimated 80% of all domestic violence victims are female.
At the previously mentioned town hall meeting, you spoke of your belief that the federal government should not step on the rights of states to establish laws, regulations, and rules, however, your support of H.R. 38 contradicts your statement.
Please, I implore you to look at every angle and to listen to each side of the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” discussions/views.
I do not support H.R. 38 and request that you withdraw your co-sponsorship of H.R. 38 and vote against H.R. 38.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
The letter writer, “Annie O”, wishes to remain anonymous on this website. Annie is known to us and lives in the NJ 3rd Congressional District. The letter she sent to Tom MacArthur was signed with her full name and NJ 3rd address. Rep. MacArthur’s office has not answered this letter, nor the letter she sent previously on the subject.