Dear Editor:

 

Social media has its virtues and uses but preventing or correcting the fast spread of false information, particularly by one’s political opponents, is not one of them so I write to correct the record before more misinformation about my voting record and positions continues to circulate.

 Last week the Governor signed into law two gun related pieces of legislation, the “bump stock” and “red flag” bills.  When these bills came before the House for their initial vote in April I was unavoidably out of town.  No matter since given the quirky way the Assembly operates – a topic for another day - I knew both bills would come back for a second vote. That vote was Thursday.

 I voted in favor of the bill to ban the “bump stock,” the modification to semi-automatic weapons used in the Las Vegas shootings.  This seemed to me a common sense and overdue measure I was pleased to vote for and for which I am glad is now law.  

Regarding the ‘red flag” legislation, I support the concept and purpose which, in principle, is designed to remove guns from the hands of potential killers before tragedy strikes.  Few people I have spoken to disagree. That said, anytime one enacts legislation involving firearms one must be careful to balance the needs of society against the inevitable infringement on individual constitutional rights. This bill as written would give unusual and unrestricted powers to police departments, powers no court would typically condone.

Other states have “red flag” laws in various forms, some well written and some not.  The version passed last week lacks, in my opinion, the necessary constitutional safeguards.  I am far from alone in this view and even the ACLU agrees. Again, my opposition to this is not about the concept, but the execution.

Back in April several amendments were proposed to the bill and had they been adopted I would have voted for it but the final product passed last week was simply not deserving of support.  

I am glad we as a State are taking measures to keep firearms away from truly dangerous individuals, but I wish we had not rushed the legislation, which was clearly a hasty political response to the Parkland shootings.  Grandstanding and haste do not good laws make.

 Legislation, particularly controversial legislation that limits constitutional rights is not a game and full of nuance.  Those who gloss over the fine points in order to score cheap political points to advance an ideological narrative do all of us a disservice.

Anthony Giarrusso

District 30 Representative

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