3 OPINIONS: At anti-gun violence rally, gun owner Gabby Giffords endorses Andy Kim for NJ-03 over NRA “A”-rated incumbent Tom MacArthur

ABOVE: Photo from this Facebook post of the event in Moorestown, NJ. Courtesy of the Andy Kim campaign

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OPINION: Giffords and Kelly wholeheartedly endorse Andy Kim

A letter to the editor by Kelly Clark of Medford, NJ

On Monday May 7th, 2018, I attended the rally against gun violence at the Moorestown community center. Hundreds of people took seats or stood on the lawn because the event was too big to be held inside the community center. The speakers at the rally included: Shannon Freedman, the Leader of the South Jersey chapter of Students Demand Action; Gabby Giffords, former congresswoman for Arizona’s 8th congressional district; Mark Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy Captain and Space Shuttle astronaut; and Andy Kim, candidate for New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district.

In 2011, Gabby Giffords was shot through the head during an event with constituents. It is a miracle that she survived and she continues to thrive with the help of her husband, Mark Kelly. Eighteen others were shot in the same incident, including six people who were killed.

While this couple owns guns and respects the second amendment, they also recognize the need for laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who want to harm other people. They have fought for sensible gun legislation across the country.

This is completely different from the perspective of our current congressman who cosponsored the concealed carry reciprocity bill that passed the house. This bill would make New Jersey’s strong gun laws essentially useless because it reduces requirements for carrying a firearm to the weakest state laws in the country.

Several states do not require a background check (for mental illness, domestic abuse, or criminal record) for private gun sales. There are states where you can apply for a concealed carry permit through the mail. For some of these states, you do not even have to be a resident of the state to apply for the concealed carry permit. You just pay a minimal fee and off you go with your concealed carry permit. That means residents of NJ could apply for these permits and carry a firearm without you knowing, but only if the bill MacArthur cosponsored becomes law. Is that what we want after fighting for strong protections for our state?

For those that say gun laws do nothing to stop gun deaths because criminals will always break the law, please consider this. According to Safehome.org, New Jersey has the 4th lowest gun ownership per 100,000 citizens in the country. It has the 3rd lowest suicide by gun rate. It has the 6th lowest total gun death rate over the last decade. New Jersey is one of the most populous states in the country and yet we have one of the lowest rates of death by gun. Why? Only one answer: Strong State gun legislation.

This doesn’t just hold true for New Jersey either. Across the board, the states with more stringent laws, have less gun deaths. The states should decide what is best for their residents based on the culture and lifestyle of those residents.

While here in South Jersey, Giffords and Kelly wholeheartedly endorsed Andy Kim’s bid to replace MacArthur. They saw in him someone who would respect the second amendment, while also respecting the lives of New Jerseyans. Andy Kim will follow through on the promises he made to Giffords, Kelly, and all of the residents of the third congressional district to continue their fight for sensible gun legislation that protects us all. I agree with Giffords and Kelly on this issue and, for that reason and many others, I will be voting for Andy Kim in November.

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OPINION: We are in a crisis moment in our history.

A letter to the editor by Kathleen Pulver, Medford, NJ

On a beautiful day in May, I was privileged to join at least 300 people to at a gun violence awareness rally in Moorestown. The courageous and determined Gabby Giffords was there with her husband as they continue to promote sensible gun laws and awareness of gun violence around the country. As Mark Kelly stated, they are “sick and tired of seeing gun lobby cash silencing politicians!”

They appeared with CD-3 candidate Andy Kim, whom they and their organization have endorsed. All three of these public servants support the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment. However, they, along with approximately 66% of Americans, want to see common sense gun laws that will help curtail death and injury.

As a resident of Burlington County, I wanted to know what my representative Tom MacArthur has done to tackle the gun violence epidemic. Has he actively participated to keep me and my neighbors safe?
Sadly, no. Instead, he has the following record:

  1. He was the only representative from NJ to vote for the “reciprocal carry act,” which would allow people from states with virtually no oversight of gun purchases or gun owners to carry their weapons into our state, which has wisely worked for more sensible gun laws.
  2. He voted for the ridiculously titled “hearing protection act” which would allow for widescale purchase of “silencers.”
  3. He has an “A” rating from the gun lobbying group the NRA which means that he has voted consistently how “they” want him to vote and it means that he has accepted thousand of dollars from said gun lobby.

At the rally, Andy Kim talked about how his experience serving in the foreign service in the middle eastern war zones has impacted him. He will never forget the sounds, the fear, the sight of the wounds and the emotion elicited by the weapons of war. He lost a number of friends over there.
I agree with him that weapons of war have no place outside the theater of war. My husband is a military veteran and my cousin is a Vietnam veteran. They both know about war and they both believe that if someone thinks they must be allowed to carry and fire an AR-15 type weapon, they should sign up to serve in the military.

We are in a crisis moment in our history. There are complex issues surrounding gun violence, but we should not give in to our frustration. We can change the course of our nation if we stand together with honorable, deliberative people like Andy Kim in November.

Thank you,

Kathleen Pulver

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OPINION: Let’s respond with action

A letter to the editor by Kate Wilson, Moorestown NJ

Dear Letters Editor,

“Let us not respond with a moment of silence, let’s respond with action” – A Kim 05/07/2018

This has never been more true. I’ve just returned from the Andy Kim/Gaby Giffords/Mark Kelly Gun Violence Prevention Rally held at the Moorestown Community House. And as I stood in the sun listening to  the speakers, I was moved to tears……seeing Gaby Giffords speaking at the podium while she still battles the horrific gun injuries inflicted on her 7 years ago; hearing her husband Mark Kelly talk about the latest CDC data that shows that 38,000 people were killed by guns in 2016, and then being reminded by Andy Kim that it’s been 218 days since the Las Vegas Shooting and 82 days since Parkland. And still, our Congressional District 3 elected official (Tom MacArthur) has done nothing meaningful to help bring about sensible gun legislation that would help to prevent these sort of senseless tragedies.

In fact, Congressman MacArthur has done the opposite – he was the first NJ Congressman to co-sponsor the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill, supporting an NRA-backed measure that would make it easier for people from other states to carry concealed weapons in New Jersey. And he voted yes on that bill in Congress, even following the massacre of concert-goers in Las Vegas, which will require states with tough gun laws, like ours, to honor concealed weapons permits from other states with much laxer legislation. The risks this act brings has led the International Association of Chiefs of Police, (representing 18,000 departments across America), to write to Congress asking for the act to be rejected, stating that “it’s a dangerous encroachment on individual state efforts to protect public safety and it would effectively nullify duly enacted state laws and hamper law enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence.”

Given all of this, I believe it has never been more important to have an independent, thoughtful, non-NRA funded representative for our district. I am sure Congressman MacArthur is a pleasant and friendly enough person – but sadly, his willingness to accept NRA money, and his “A” rating from that same group, means that I don’t trust him to vote with the views of his constituents in mind. Andy Kim has made it clear he will support the common sense gun legislation that the majority of constituents want, so please, if you care about the impact that gun violence is having on communities across this country, look at bills Congressman MacArthur has co-sponsored and voted for and decide that you’ll help bring about the change we need on November 6th.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Wilson


Editor’s note: The opinions in these letters are those of the authors’ only.

Citizens’ Media TV encourages all viewpoints. Please submit your letters to the editor

We are 100% funded by our readers. Please support independent journalism. Help pay for Citizens’ Media TV.

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