Weak sentencing for gun felons plus serving as a sanctuary for criminal alien fugitives minus the ability of peaceful citizens to defend themselves equals New Jersey?
The Garden State has become a breeding ground for repeat violent offenders who can illegally own firearms, while peaceful citizens face the strictest gun control laws imaginable. The tragic case of the Jersey City attack on a kosher supermarket, resulting in the deaths of three civilians and an ace police detective, should spawn a national discussion on weak sentencing against gun felons paired against the ineffectiveness of broad gun control on the citizenry.
The nation watched in shock on Tuesday as David Anderson, 47, and his girlfriend Francine Graham, 50 entered a Jewish food store in Jersey City and killed three civilians during a hostage/shootout situation that lasted several hours and shut down part of the city. Anderson and Graham, who are now dead, are also believed to have ambushed Jersey City detective Joseph Seals, and there’s evidence they are connected to the murder of an Uber driver in neighboring Bayonne, New Jersey.
Jersey City, like most murders, is about criminal control, not gun control
There’s been a lot of focus on their association with the Black Hebrew Israelite sect, an anti-Semitic and black supremacist cult, and the fact that this was likely a hate crime targeting Jews in an era of growing anti-Semitism. But the bigger public policy discussion should revolve around the fact that while the owners of these types of stores must remain unarmed in a state like New Jersey, a man like David Anderson, who had an extensive criminal record and firearms violations, was able to get a hold of the rifles used in the attack. If government really wants to protect the Jewish community as well as other innocent residents of New Jersey, it should focus on keeping the good guys armed and keeping people like Anderson behind bars.
It turns out that, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections records, Anderson was charged with weapons offenses in 2004, 2007, and 2011, yet he never spent a significant amount of time in prison and mainly got probation. He was also convicted on a drug charge in December 2008 for which he served no time. In 2009, he was arrested for domestic violence in Ohio, but spent just 30 days in jail. According to the New York Post, he was picked up by Portage County, Ohio, police again in April 2011 following another incident of domestic violence, and Ohio police discovered an outstanding warrant from Hudson County, New Jersey, for violating his probation on a previous gun felony. Ohio police did their job, but when he was extradited back to New Jersey, authorities there rewarded the probation violation with … more probation. Although he was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2011, he was released after just four months.
This trend of choosing probation over incarceration in order to dramatically reduce the prison population as an end goal has only grown exponentially in states like New Jersey since 2011. The total incarcerated population has plummeted by 31 percent from 2011 to 2019, even as the overall population has grown slightly. A man with Anderson’s record today would likely serve even less time, thereby creating an even weaker deterrent against murder and mayhem.
The sad “irony,” which isn’t that ironic when you study crime and gun control, is that New Jersey has the toughest gun laws in the nation. Nobody can carry a weapon outside their homes, and so-called assault weapons have been banned for years. As of this year, anyone in New Jersey who owns a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition is officially in possession of illegal contraband and is deemed a fourth-degree felon. Unlike magazine bans in other states, this one retroactively banned people from even owning such magazines in their homes, even though they had been purchased legally.
Here’s the enduring lesson of the Jersey City attacker and over 90 percent of other homicides in America. You can have all the gun control you want and it won’t stop shootings, but if you keep the known violent criminals, particularly violent gun felons, locked up, you will prevent the overwhelming number of homicides, which are committed by recidivists. If, on the other hand, you have gun control, but empty out the prisons to serve the idols of “criminal justice reform,” you get a security nightmare.
For example, in Baltimore, another bastion of both gun control and weak sentencing against criminals, the average murder suspect in 2017 had nine prior arrests, and 70 percent had prior arrests for drugs, according to city police data. The people doing all the crime are barely serving time. In total, 85 percent of murder suspects had a criminal record, and 44 percent were previously arrested for gun crimes.
One can only imagine how bad this attack would have been had Anderson usefully detonated the pipe bomb he built inside his U-Haul truck parked outside the kosher store. Remember, when you focus on the guns and let out the criminals, they have many ways of harming people with all sorts of weapons.
Leftists are using mass shootings to promote counterintuitive gun control policies. According to the Washington Post, there have been 1,196 victims of mass shootings since 1966. But in total, there have been 943,591 homicide victims in America from 1966 through 2018. Thus, 99.9 percent of all homicides in this country were committed by general murderers, the overwhelming majority of them being known criminals with rap sheets who were not deterred and punished properly. Some of the mass shooters who were first-timers were the exceptions.
The bottom line is if we locked up repeat violent offenders more often and closed more of the loopholes allowing them out – rather than pushing a further weakening of the criminal justice system – most murders could be prevented. Yes, that is an outcome that is worth the cost of building prisons.
Inviting in thousands of foreign criminals, including gun felons, while stealing guns from New Jersians
What’s worse than releasing violent felons while stripping innocent citizens of the right to defend themselves against those felons? New Jersey is a complete sanctuary state that invites in and harbors other countries’ criminals.
Earlier this year, N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a directive banning law enforcement from, among other things, participating “in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE” and providing “ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property, unless those resources are readily available to the public.”
Even those illegal aliens detained by local law enforcement “with violent or serious offenses – such as murder, rape, arson, assault, bias crimes, and domestic violence offenses” may only be held for ICE until 11:59 pm of that day!
ICE just released a report showing that illegal aliens who were the subject of detainers had accrued 2,500 homicide charges just from this year’s cases! Given New Jersey’s large illegal immigrant population (the fifth in the nation), how many of those completely preventable murders occurred in the state?
In addition, Democrats in the state legislature are close to passing a law granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses.
Earlier this year, ICE engaged in a targeted operation to apprehend 123 criminal aliens caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs who were released by state and local law enforcement. Some also had homicide, firearms, and child molestation charges
Liberals often ask how many people have to die before we “do something” on guns. New Jersey has done a lot on guns. The one thing it hasn’t done is actually lock up the bad guys with the guns and help remove foreign criminals, thereby ensuring that good guys, who are deterred by such laws, are the only ones without guns. How many people need to die at the hands of repeat violent offenders and illegal alien criminals before we stop this madness of prison release and sanctuary states?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.