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U.S. mayor: ‘I'm not afraid of the NRA’

January 10th, 2013
11:51 AM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

It has been less than four weeks since the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, but in that time there have been more than 600 gun-related deaths in the United States.

Vice President Joe Biden has been tasked to deliver gun control recommendations to the president, but in the meantime some American politics are already taking action.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago, just announced she is launching a national campaign that will directly face off against the NRA.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy of Jersey City, New Jersey, has been at the forefront of trying to get guns off America’s streets.

Healy does not buy National Riffle Association arguments that gun control will not stop this plague of gun violence and he is not afraid of the powerful group trying to get him out office, as it has done with other legislators.

“I'm not in an area where the NRA is going to have any serious sway,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Wednesday. “The city's been sued by the NRA because of our city ordinances and the laws that we've brought down to Trenton that are now the laws of the State of New Jersey.” 

Healy and the city government run a periodic gun buyback amnesty program. At a church this past Saturday, 164 guns were bought back by the city in just over four hours.

Healy said no taxpayer money was spent on the program. Instead, it was funded by donations from businesses and private citizens. Police officers volunteered their time without salary.

Healy said he has no interest in taking away the guns that collectors or hunters use, but wants to see assault weapons and magazines that hold clips of 30 or more rounds of ammunition off American streets.

“No hunter, no collector, no target shooter has any reason to have those weapons. They were all banned up until about eight years ago. The bans expired. We'd like to get them back in place,” he said.

Two months ago Healy did not think meaningful gun control reform was possible, but he believes the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut changed that has all changed.

The risk of daring to disagree with the NRA

Filed under:  Gun Control • Latest Episode
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. db

    The author mistakenly stated, in the first sentence of this article, that guns killed 600 people. He forgot to use his brain to realize that it was people that killed people...smh

    January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • Rob

      True and they never mention how many people Unarmed people are victimized each year

      January 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
      • joseph effiong

        It seems you lack reasoning faculty. How can unarmed person be a threats to the. Public. How can verbal disagreement kill 27 people . I don't need to ask more because you don't reason.

        January 13, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • Hugh Manatee

      Is it people? I thought it was video games and movies...

      January 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • Floont arntney

      So when people die from the flu, it's not the flu that kills them, it's the person that carried the germ?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
      • Carol

        Possibly. If the person willfully infected them. It is a crime to willfully spread infectious diseases like HIV and TB.

        January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • cwthomson

      "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." That old tired cliche again.

      Funny, but I'm a person, and I don't kill people, and it's pretty sad that some people simply accept the premise that "people kill people."

      Civilized people don't kill people at all. I'm one of those. I also have a problem with hawkish people in general – people like me would prefer to live in peace without fear, while other people seem to prefer the proliferation of assault weapons while arguing that they don't kill people.

      Clearly, "People with guns kill people."

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • nunyabizess

        A gun can't harm someone without a person operating it...

        January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • susan

        A gun can't harm someone without a person operating it....what a moronic statement! which by the way clearly indicates the lack of critical thinking that is becoming the norm in the USA. Guns serve just one purpose...they are made specially for one thing only...killing.

        January 11, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • Jack

        More people are killed with knives, clubs, hammers and other means than are killed with guns in the united states. Hammers and bats are the two prime tools used. Sad isn't it? More people beaten to death in this country than shot to death and all we talk about is guns because of the events where numerous are killed at the same time. I think there is a secret society in this country that just wants to disarm the American people. I also think there are about half the population of the United States that is going to put up a heck of a fight before they allow their guns to be taken. I hope some cool heads think about this for a while before they start something we won 't be able to stop.

        January 11, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • Michael

        "More people beaten to death in this country than shot to death and all we talk about is guns because of the events where numerous are killed at the same time."

        Id like to see those statistics.

        January 11, 2013 at 1:44 am |
      • fred

        and pencils misspell words. and cars kill people. and knives cut people, and teachers fail students. and faces hit other people in the fist. and drugs destroy peoples lives. and if people would keep there stuff locked up, there wouldn't be any thievery in the world.

        January 28, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Silly Libs

      If I lived in his crappy, violent city, I would certainly carry a gun. Jersey City ranks 26 in safety with 100 being the safest. Maybe he should concentrate on dealing with the dump he is in charge of before he gets on TV and spouts off. I would have said a news outlet, but it was only CNN.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • Jack

      I don't believe the 600 number, I think it isa just made up. Cnn reports on every gun death and just runs it in the ground. I read CNN every day and I have not seen anything even close to this. This guy is just lying. It seems we are seldom told a truth about anything anymore. Everything is lies.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:37 am | Reply
    • Michael

      Guns don't kill people, people kill people, WITH GUNS.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:43 am | Reply
    • reflecto

      One other thing he doesn't mention: How many of those deaths were suicides?

      January 11, 2013 at 3:13 am | Reply
  2. evolve1

    According to the FBI, 60-90% of all gun murders are a result of the illegal drug trade.

    According to the US Department of Justice, 56% of all murderers had prior convictions for violent felonies.

    According to the FBI, only 2% of gun crimes (and less then 1% of murders) are committed using so-called "assault weapons", despite fact that the AR-15 is the most commonly owned model of rifle in the country.

    If the Obama administration actually cared at all about gun deaths, they would be pushing to end the war on drugs and for the passage of a national 2-strikes law for violent felons. Their own best data suggest that they could, at a minimum, reduce gun deaths in the US by 65-75% with those two actions, while their own data prove that an "assault weapons" ban, even assuming that prospective killers wouldn't switch to a handgun, knife, club, or bare hands (each of which accounts for several times more murders than this type of gun), would reduce the murder rate by less than 1%.

    So, tell me again how the administration is trying to save lives rather than simply exploit tragedy, prejudice, and ignorance in order to attack legal private gun ownership.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      Well, considering the White House's reccomendations haven't been made yet... I'm not a fan of guns, but I understand the right to own them. I'm hoping that any legislation that comes forth (from the White House, I understand others are calling for the ban of the so-called "assault rifles"), is more in-depth and focuses on more thorough background checks and registration.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  3. TheDoctor

    He has no need to be afraid of the NRA. They are good, law-abiding people. Be afraid of criminals in your town who illegally carry guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • cerna

      Exactly. These anti-gun types are so oblivious to what is actually going on in the real world. Criminals will never in their lives follow the law. The gun is just a tool. It takes a hard heart to kill. People have been committing violent acts to groups of people long before the 'black rifle' was available to the public. Many citizens either forget that fact or are just ignorant to the history of human violence.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply
      • Peter Warrren

        You are SO right. Every citizen (who has no criminal record) and child from the age of 10 should required by law to be armed at all times, just like you must use a seat belt. Then everyone will be 100% safe, After all, if some is good, more is better. isn't it? and if not, why not?

        January 11, 2013 at 2:42 am |
    • cwthomson

      I don't fear individual NRA members. What I fear is the lobby power of the NRA. Sure, responsible people buy guns, but they lobby for legislation that assumes others will be equally responsible, which they clearly won't.

      Guns are fine. The 2nd Amendment is fine. But the 2nd Amendment, if you read it carefully, says that a WELL-REGULATED militia is necessary to the security of a free state. That does not include criminals who frequent gun shows, and perhaps mothers who take their mentally ill sons to shooting ranges to learn how to use assault weapons.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  4. Chuck Best

    “No hunter, no collector, no target shooter has any reason to have those weapons" Just one question. Who are you to say what reasons Americans have for owning these weapons? Last time I checked one was not required.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  5. Rob

    Limited gun control played a role in disarming the teachers of that school. Obviously police cannot be everywhere and
    it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove all guns from America, just look at the drug war. Americans needs to take self defense and firearm courses and any creator of gun free zones should be liable for any violence that could occur, dialing 911 is not enough.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      1) Columbine had armed guards.
      2) No one is trying to ban ALL guns.
      3) "look at the drug war" – Put a gun in a condom and swallow it and then we'll discuss how they're the same.
      4) This is America. Land of the free and home of the brave. Not land of the "hurry up and get home and lock and load." No one should HAVE to carry a gun to feel safe. This isn't the Sudan. This isn't the Congo. This isn't Soviet Russia.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  6. Bee Man

    "but guns have killed more than 600 people in the United States."

    Run!!!! guns are going around killing people!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  7. Bill Q

    "...guns have killed more than 600 people in the United States."

    Considering that Chicago alone had north of 500 of those deaths alone, I'm gonna have to call this statistic into question.

    Especially since Cook county/Chicago in particular have some of the toughest laws restricting guns in the US, and yet we have the highest rate when it comes to gun crime.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      Considering this article was discussing the 600 people killed in the US in the past four weeks, and you said "Considering that Chicago alone had north of 500 of those deaths alone"...
      I'm gonna have to call your statistic into question.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  8. cerna

    “No hunter, no collector, no target shooter has any reason to have those weapons. They were all banned up until about eight years ago. The bans expired. We'd like to get them back in place,” he said.

    The 2nd amendment gives us the right to have those weapons. With that same mentality, all rich citizens of this country should not be able to own giant houses and exotic cars that can go 200mph. Why would anyone need a car that goes 200mph? Why do rich people need giant mansions with 25 rooms when only 4 people actually live there?

    You anti-gun people wave your flag of non-violence while supporting a president who has no problem killing people with an unmanned drone.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      Speaking of unmanned drones (which by the way, I don't support President Obama's policy on,) Why aren't we allowed to own them? Or nuclear weapons? Or biological/chemical weapons? What about Surface to Air Missles? Or many other missles for that matter? Land mines?

      There are already regulations on the second amendment (GASP!) So if you really feel that a few more are so bad, then go ahead and use your guns and rise up. We're all tired of hearing about it all the time. Just do it. But watch out for those drones.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  9. jim

    Instead of trying to

    January 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  10. todd

    the 2nd amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting. it is only about the citizenry protecting themselves from an oppressive government & having equal power to the standing army of that government. thats the same government that sold automatic weapons to the drug cartels in fast & furious.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  11. Pass A Fist

    When will you people ever learn? Guns don't kill people....people do. What we need is people control.

    And there is no such thing as « magazines that hold clips of 30 or more rounds »

    January 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Luis

      You're right. We need to control people that own guns.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  12. CharlesBennett

    There is a major disconnect with people on the issue of gun control. Nobody, including the NRA, wants guns in the hand of the bad guys. But we are facing two problems here; bad guys don't obey laws and making up new laws that don't prevent the bad guys from getting weapons will solve nothing.

    If guns are not a deterrent to crime, then why does Law Enforcement use them? Why did the CT school get the label of "safest school in America" only after armed security was added?

    The only thing bad guys fear is a good guy with a gun. NOT, laws...

    January 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Minoqo

      I disagree with the contention that nobody wants guns in the hands of the "bad guys". If I were a gun manufacturer, I would want "bad guys" to have enough guns so that all of the other people fearful of those bad guys would buy my guns to counter the threat from the bad guys.

      Regarding laws and bad guys, obedience and deterrence aren't the whole story. Laws can make it easier to identify who violators are. If you ban orange shirts, obviously a guy someone serendipitously notices in an orange shirt is a violator, right? So, law enforcement can pick him up, figure out the orange shirt network, and bust up that portion of the orange shirt supply.

      Law enforcement uses guns as tools to exert overwhelming force to bring down the intensity of situations in a quick and safe manner. Since non-lethal weapons are becoming more common to do that exact same thing, the rate of gun use among law enforcement must fall, just doing the math. With enough technology development over decades, law enforcement will likely not need to use guns at all at some point. Non-lethal electrical, microwave, sonic, chemical, and other weapons will continue to improve, supplanting law enforcement's need for firearms. Fewer deaths caused by law enforcement would be good, yes?

      As for good guys with guns, how do you prove that a good guy is eternally a "good guy" and not just someone that hasn't snapped or become corrupted enough yet to be a "bad guy"? The "bad guys vs. good guys" model might work for teaching little children, but it's not the reality of our existence.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  13. Matt

    I am pro gun control and I know picking at semantics will serve to further the conversation, so I offer the edit of the first paragraph. "t has been less than four weeks since the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, but during that time, guns were involved in the deaths of more than 600 people in the United States."

    January 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  14. cwthomson

    The only thing pro-gun types are going to get out of this article is the fact that you referred to "magazines" as "clips."

    That really, really gets on their nerves. Too bad they can't get equally fired up about these mass shootings.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  15. jim

    Instead of trying to butt heads with the nra what about backing the American Rights. More people die in the US from DUI than from Gunshots. People kill people and every thing is a weapon. If you want to ban Guns then ban ciggerettes and booze. Again the peopl that know nothing about violence are talking from the wrong end. I was crippled by a dui driver and many more are killed. Outlaw cars, knives, bats, pots, anything that can kill. Control the people not the good citizens. This will be a failure if some of the commies try to take our rights away and could push Americans over the Brink. I also think this is a diversion to what is the real problem here. Hunter

    January 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  16. Steve

    Burke: I think you made a typo in your opening when you stated, "...but guns have killed more than 600 people in the United States." I'm sure you meant to say, "people with guns have killed more than 600 people in the United States." Surely you know by now that guns themselves do not kill people. People kill people. If it had been 600 deaths by knives, baseball bats or poisonings, would that change the fact that 600 innocent people are dead? No. You should think about revising your presentation before publishing something that makes you come off looking like the most uneducated blogger on the web.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  17. Name*Rob

    Maybe instead of focusing so much on gun control we should focus on drinking and driving. Maybe we should put breath alizers in all vehicals that would stop 99% of drinking and driving accidents and save thousands of lives. A lot more people are affected by drunk drivers than guns.
    Maybe we should focus more on mental health than on making laws. Criminals by definition don't care about laws. Someone who means to do harm will find a way look at 9/11 box cutters, look at Oklahoma city bombing no guns were involved and how many adults and children were involved in that. What do all these crimes have in common the people who commited them were not menatally compitent.
    Plus he stole the gun from his mother why didn't she have it put away were he hd no possible way of getting ahold of it. To me that is signs of an irresposible gun owner, but no one talks of that. Cause that's not going to pushing on the people's rights.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      "To me that is signs of an irresposible gun owner, but no one talks of that."

      Actually, people ARE talking about that. That's the whole issue. Irresponsible gun owners who allow their guns to be used in murders.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  18. Confused

    For every person killed in gun violence over 6 people die from second hand smoke according to the CDC.

    Why then are we not banning Smoking? Why are we not banning Alcohol to prevent drunk driving?

    Shouldn't we go after the things that are killing the most people?

    As far as I am concerned, it appears you are a bunch of hypocrites.

    If saving lives is your goal then why are you not going after the biggest impact items?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      There are many places that outlaw smoking. There are also HUGE campaigns for anti-smoking and the dangers that smoking does. Cigarette companies have been sued and lost. They had to testify to Congress. There are even lawsuits against people FOR second hand smoke.

      So really, people have / are going after smoking. When was the last time you saw a safety first ad for guns on tv?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  19. Tom

    Mr. Burke, You lost the argument in your first paragraph. Let us ask you: How many knives, hammers or baseball bats have killed people in the same time period? The answer is the same – none. Or: How many people have killed others with guns in all of the gun free zones in the U.S.? I don't know the answer but I suspect many. Is there any correlation between the rate of gun violence and the buy back program? Intuitively my sense is probably not as the people who want guns will keep the guns they want. I will say that I am no fan of the NRA nor am I currently a gun owner but what I do fear is a heavy handed government making knee jerk reactions.

    Murder is tragic regardless of the method and of course we cannot just choose to do nothing. But the solution is complicated, generational and will be multifaceted. Focusing on guns is myopic at best.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Hugh Manatee

      YEAH! How many people has CANCER killed! Probably loads! But we don't have a cure! So F'em! Forget chemo and radiation. It's not guaranteed to help. Sure, looking at studies it shows that it can decrease the effects and sometimes stop cancer, but who really cares if we can't stop it 100% So again. F those little bald-headed cancer kids.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  20. Dave

    ABC News: In December, 2012 , according to FBI statistics, gun sales in America have broken all records. "2,783,765 total background checks were carried out to purchase firearms, surpassing the previous record from November 2012 when 2,006,919 checks were performed," ABC News also reported on January 2, 2013 "For the year, 2012, 19,592,303 background checks carried out for firearm purchases in 2012 that is a 19 percent rise from 2011."

    January 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
  21. mcalleyboy

    I don't see American's putting up with anti-gun laws anymore, their going to carry and not listen to anymore barking from officials.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:07 am | Reply
  22. Chas Couthie

    He should be afraid of the NRA. They crucify any politician who goes against their policies. The NRA has deep pockets and has already bought most politicians.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • Jack

      Chas, you are a treasure trove of information, youy should be a college professor teach your lore to our younger people.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:50 am | Reply
  23. AyresRocket

    Hey "Confused"(and you surely are)we should ban any type of device, food or activity that causes deaths,BEFORE we start on guns huh?

    January 11, 2013 at 3:15 am | Reply

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