New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Phil Murphy vs Jack Ciattarelli New Jersey Gubernatorial debate aired on September 28, 2021. While much of the debate was a melee back and forth of hurled insults and some inconvenient facts about many of Murphy’s failures as Governor, there was some discussion on Second Amendment-related issues.
In order to really appreciate the full ramifications of how Murphy’s policies as Governor have negatively impacted many citizens, the topics of policing as well as the decriminalization of marijuana have been included. The picture Murphy tries to paint as being a champion of the rights of black and brown constituents needs to be shattered, as his stance on gun laws disproportionately affects the same camp.
Sade Baderinwa one of the moderators asked Ciattarelli a question about diversity in the police force. The question presented some statistics that are important to keep track of, especially concerning policies and laws that the Murphy administration has supported when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms.
“First I’d like to talk about the continued racial divide when it comes to policing. According to an ABC owned television station equity report overall New Jersey police departments arrest blacks nearly four times more than whites and are more likely to use physical force against blacks after traffic stops than they are with white drivers. What would you do as governor to address these issues?…”
Baderinwa further asked about the diversity of New Jersey police forces and the populations they represent, noting three jurisdictions that have 100% white police officers on the force.
Ciattarelli responded by talking about the creation of programs to recruit people of color that want to be on the force. He continued by talking about having better screening protocols to make sure we are getting the correct people on the job and he finalized his remarks by saying we need a better way to get rid of “bad cops.” Ciattarelli also made clear that in his own administration he would support the police forces and make sure they are able to do their jobs unhindered.
Murphy took that opportunity to take shots at Ciattarelli from when he was a Freeholder years ago in Somerset County. Murphy cited an alleged “defunding” that occurred on the county level with the loss of several sheriff’s officers.
Ironically, its okay for Murphy to refer to Ciattarelli as a “Freeholder” in this context, which is strange since it was his administration that moved to have all “Freeholder” positions renamed to “Commissioners” due to some alleged racist origins of the term. Murphy’s use of the alleged racist term “Freeholder” is okay when referencing Ciattarelli while he vilified Jack for using the word “sodomy” later on in the debate when discussing sexual education.
That did not stop Murphy from going further off the trail either using the question as a chance to sneak in talking points about firearms:
“And lastly, at some point we have to talk about guns. I’m proud of our record to make NJ the strongest gun safety state in America. But, again I feel sometimes my opponent is running for Governor of Texas. He wants concealed carry. He wants more rounds in magazines. He voted against banning 50 caliber weapons, against universal background checks. That’s a big part of the law enforcement reality here as well and we have to get that out there.”
There was some further back and forth between the candidates on the policing issues to which moderator Brian Taff said the “gun violence” topic would be re-visited later in the debate.
During the debate, Murphy segued into bringing up his social justice warrior reforms in the way of the failed marijuana decriminalization; “I got to supporting the adult use of marijuana not because of the jobs, or revenues, but because of social injustices. In particular the damage it did to young black men. Those are the 2nd chance agenda…”
The Murphy administration was not able to get the marijuana debate settled through the legislature and was posed as a ballot initiative. For Murphy to lean on the slim margin of passage of the decriminalization of marijuana through the initiative is a weak show and if anything highlights his inability to bring people together on the topic.
Amanda Hoover from NJ Advance Media took a chance and asked the Governor about policies surrounding marijuana in the state, in particular how the duty for police to inform the parents of minors should they be found in possession of the drug has been removed. The current law does not permit the police to contact the parents of minors who are afoul of the law.
“New Jersey has now legalized marijuana but right now as your opponent has ceded tonight, if a child is caught with marijuana for the first time, police cannot tell their parents they’ll never know about it. Do you think that part of the law endangers children and would you change it?”
Murphy’s response states this is about adult use of marijuana:
“This should be the same format for alcohol, tobacco, this is adult use cannabis. 21 years and over, period. The industry is being brought together as we speak, I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to have an accelerated expungement process over 360 thousand expungements to put lives again especially of young black men back on their feet. Again I got to this because of social justice and the carnage from the war on drugs. We have the widest white non-white gap of persons incarcerated of any American state and the biggest reason was low end drug crime, and that is why I got into this…”
Ciattarelli pointed out that since the ballot initiative passed there seems to be a level of buyer’s remorse with the state, noting 400 of 565 towns have passed ordinances not allowing dispensaries in their towns.
“When they learned that our police cannot take the weed or alcohol from a teenager and inform the parent…that’s extremism, that’s not mainstream, that’s extreme. And that’s Phil Murphy.” – Jack Ciattarelli
Brian Taff did finally ask a loaded and somewhat biased question of Ciattarelli concerning so-called “gun violence.” The lead in to the conversation that was far from being void of political sentiment:
“Mr. Ciattarelli, we promised we’d talk about gun violence we want to get to it tonight. Homicides by gun are up 15 % so far this year in New Jersey, as a former Assemblyman, we touched on this before, you voted against background checks, and you want to expand who can carry guns and concealed weapons. How are those strategies any way to reduce gun violence?”
With resounding support for civil rights Jack Ciattarelli said what he’s said before on the subject:
“The Second Amendment, is the Second Amendment, is the Second Amendment, it’s not going anywhere. I think if it were up to Phil Murphy, he’d repeal the Second Amendment…”
Murphy interrupted to say “That’s not true.”
“People have a constitutional right to own a firearm, he constantly demonizes law abiding and legal gun owners. Listen I would be tough on crime in every way, I will support the men and woman in blue who’s job has never been harder. There are a number of bills in the legislature that he want’s on his desk that the Democratic majority leadership will not put on his desk because they know it infringes on Second Amendment rights. What he won’t tell you about Jack Ciattarelli is that the last time I ran for reelection in the legislature in 2014, I was the only Republican to not be endorsed by the NRA.”
Murphy’s reply; “This is a fact. He supports concealed carry…” Jack interrupted “That’s not true.” Murphy continued, “He voted, you, in fact, you said for certain professions, like that really dangerous one realtors…you voted against background checks, you voted against banning 50 caliber weapons…”
Ciattarelli cut in over Murphy pointing at one of the core kernels when it comes to the right to self-defense:
“Talk to female realtors that do open houses.”
Murphy’s tongue-in-cheek comment about how being a realtor is “really dangerous” is something he needs to be taken to task on.
The fact of the matter is, it’s a very dangerous job to be a real estate agent, and to diminish the safety concerns of anyone that works with that profession is beyond hubris. Murphy is out of touch with the common person and his statements making fun of Ciattarelli’s assertion that the real estate profession is dangerous is off base. Essentially Murphy is against woman’s rights to self-defend, as he laughs at these facts.
Murphy’s tirade continued:
“You voted against reducing bullets in magazines. We have the strongest gun safety laws in any state in America, you’re going to make us less safe.”
Ciattarelli gets back on point:
“Talk to people that replenish ATM machines and female realtors that sit in an open house all day by themselves.”
All Murphy had to say about that vulnerability:
“You’ve got to be kidding me…”
Looking at the topics discussed, much of what Murphy has brought up and or supported since he’s been in office does need to be placed under a microscope. His continual alleged championing for black and brown communities and he being proud of the record amount of low-level drug infraction expungements is only one small facet of the disparity in our criminal justice system. By calling for police reform and at the same time seeking to add more gun laws on the books, Murphy is advocating for more police intervention and arrests.
Statistically, gun laws are disproportionately levied against communities of color. Murphy is continually trying to have his cake and eat it too. Murphy’s policies on firearms lead to more people of color in jail, not less. Beyond the fact, the efficacy of any implemented or proposed policies are ineffectual.
Ciattarelli’s alleged non-support of “universal background checks” that Murphy brought up several times is a clear misnomer.
New Jersey already has background checks and we’ve had the federal NICS system in place for decades. Murphy was pulling from the anti-gun playbook in invoking the sacred “universal background check” is simply smoke and mirrors. We already had these checks as law in the Garden State and have for years predating both Murphy and Ciattarelli.
Murphy’s assertion that Ciattarelli wants concealed carry in the state was being posed as some sort of a pejorative is also laughable. While Ciattarelli is more centralist when it comes to carry, he has stated on the record several times that he’s willing to see the expansion of carry rights to citizens in New Jersey.
In particular, the starting point that he used was in permitting to people in professions that are dangerous. In my May 2021 interview with Ciattarelli, he had the following to say when it came to concealed carry in New Jersey:
“My goal as a nominee is to produce a Republican majority in the state legislature. If I’m successful in that quest, a lot changes in terms of our strategies and policy objectives. In the event there is a Democratic majority, what I believe we need to do with regard to conceal and carry is to take some small steps in the right direction, by granting conceal and carry rights to, for example, dangerous professions. I have heard numerous times, not to be gender bias, but, female realtors are not comfortable spending all day in an open house by themselves in neighborhoods that are unfamiliar to them. I’ve also heard from truck drivers who spend overnights in their cabs when going on longer trips. So, again it all depends on the makeup of the legislature and if there is a Democratic majority, I think we need to try and make small steps in regards to conceal and carry.”
Murphy, a carpetbagger from Massachusetts, comes from a state where approximately 6.04% of the population IS permitted to carry firearms for the use of self-defense, in contrast to New Jersey’s .013%. From a carry standpoint, Murphy is 100% out of touch with the core principals of the Second Amendment and Ciaterelli did accurately state that if Murphy had it his way he’d see the Amendment completely repealed.
The other points that Murphy kept bringing up, Ciattarelli‘s non-support of a 50 caliber ban and him not advocating for smaller magazine capacity limits is more pandering from the anti-gun lobby. There is no proof that 50 caliber firearms pose any actual threat to safety nor have there been any instances where such firearms have been used in widespread crime. Magazine capacity limits only affect the law-abiding citizen in limiting their abilities to protect themselves. Like all the laws that Murphy advocated for, the 10 round magazine capacity limit is an added charge that will be tacked on to some other charges during an arrest and has zero appreciable effect on public safety. Murphy’s policies put more persons of color in jail by having more infractions on the books.
Overall, the debate was heated. Several times Murphy wavered and could visually be seen to be off-balance. Jack, as well as cat-calling from the crowd, was clearly getting into the Governor’s head. Ciattarelli had a good command throughout the entirety of the debate.
Other important topics were covered such as taxes, sex education in public schools, vaccines, etc. It’s worthy to watch the debate if you have not.
From a Second Amendment perspective, there is nothing Earth-shattering here. More lies from Murphy. And yes, I’ll say support from Ciaterelli.
“The Second Amendment, is the Second Amendment, is the Second Amendment, it’s not going anywhere. I think if it were up to Phil Murphy, he’d repeal the Second Amendment…” – Jack Ciattarelli
The debate can be viewed in full here:
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .