Resident Asks Community to Contact Congressman Lance to Express Views on Gun Violence

Members of NJ Residents for Action met with Lance one week ago.

To the Editor: 

On Monday, February 4, a delegation of five concerned citizens representing the NJ Residents for Action met with United States Representative Leonard Lance and his chief of staff Todd Mitchell at Mr. Lance's office on South Avenue in Westfield.

We expressed to Congressman Lance our desire to see a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips and a system of universal background checks that closes the private-sale loophole. We asked Congressman Lance to hold a town hall meeting at Westfield High School within the next several weeks in order to allow his constituents the opportunity to express their views on the topic of gun violence and as importantly, to allow his constituents to hear his views.

Congressman Lance categorically refused to schedule a meeting and stated that he never holds a town hall on one topic. We appealed to him asserting that is literally a life and death issue of tremendous interest but he still refused. We then asked to him to schedule a town hall open to all topics but he again refused saying that he never schedules meetings until March when the weather is better. We were not informed that Congressman Lance had in fact scheduled two meetings that week (one at the Milburn town hall) in contravention of this statement. 

We then asked Congressman Lance what his views were on the topic. He demurred, and said that the Senate would take the lead on this issue and that he promised to "review any legislation that crossed his desk from the Senate." He said he was "open" to our views, but would not promise to vote for any bill including our stated goals. He told us that on the issue of gun violence, "The real problem is mental health," and encouraged us to adopt a "wait and see" approach. He denied being a member of the NRA and his chief of staff stated that Congressman Lance has received only one contribution from the NRA totaling $1,000. Congressman Lance said he doesn't remember filling out an NRA form which solicits the views of elected officials on matters relating to gun control despite his A- rating from the NRA. 

Mr. Lance said that he "always votes his conscience." An analysis of some of his past votes is telling as it relates to his point of view. Congressman Lance voted to repeal the law that bans guns in national parks. Congressman Lance voted for HR 822, the so-called "Right to Carry Reciprocity Act" which allows holders of licenses to carry concealed weapons from other states to carry concealed weapons with impunity in other states where such a license was difficult to get (such as New Jersey) thus nullifying state laws on this matter. Mr. Lance voted against funding the National Gun Registry Database which is basis of the background search system. 

It is incumbent upon Mr. Lance's constituents to contact him by phone, email or regular mail to let him know that he can't get away with doing the "Lance Dance" (a phrase coined by Dave Glasker) anymore on this issue. We want to know where he stands and we want him to know how strongly we feel about the need to protect our children and ourselves from the rampant gun violence that persists.

Lori Bennett

Devilsfan February 11, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Will Karen come out for or against abortion? If she is so concerned with her crusade against law abiding gun owners to save lives then why not come out and say she's against the killing of all children??? Unless she is a hypocrite.
Barbara Abbott Rall February 11, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I wrote a thoughtful comment about Mr. Lance's fear of a primary challenge on his right. I was asked to log in and the process seemed to erase my comment. In any event, Lance's voting record says it all. He's more interested in getting re-elected than protecting those in his district from gun violence. NJ Residents for Action are not asking for anything unreasonable but there not going to get any support in Congress from Lance. It's a shame.
Barbara Abbott Rall February 11, 2013 at 08:09 PM
That's they're not going to get any support.
c February 12, 2013 at 06:53 PM
NJ Residents for Action are asking for unreasonable, uninformed and illogical things. Their time will be better spent in Plainfield, Camden, Newark or Paterson and getting the drug dealers, gangsters and others to give up their illegal firearms. Maybe they can be reasoned with for this. After all, most gun violence in NJ is there, not in suburbia.
Viviane Levy February 12, 2013 at 10:34 PM
First of all, "devilsfan", you are completely out of line...If you read that article carefully, it has absolutely no connection with abortions! "concerned citizen", yes there is gang violence in urban centers, but don't say that there is no gun violence in suburbia...What about a shopping mall in Arizona, a college campus in West Virginia, what about columbine H.S. in the suburb, and especially what about Newton, in bucolic Connecticut...all of these were in suburbia, correct? We are advocating for common sense legislation against gun violence, and our Congressman should vote the conscience of his constituents, that is to support HR137 for instant criminal background checks, ban on the sale of assault type weapons, and ban of high capacity ammunition magazines limited to 10 rounds. Thank you Congressman Lance for listening to your constituents.
Bigger issues to worry about February 22, 2013 at 03:37 PM
The last I checked, most gun violence is perpetrated by illegal weapons and not the items that your group is looking to ban. Ask a gang member for his gun license and see if he is able to produce one. If you want an effective policy, focus your energy on stopping drive by killings or gang warfare. You can impact a much larger portion of the population. Mr. Lance is doing his job by standing up for the rights or our citizens as defined by out founding fathers. You can blather all you want about the types of guns, but you are willing to give the government more say in how you should be living your life as a law abiding citizen. Focus on the criminals and the crimes.
Bigger issues to worry about February 23, 2013 at 02:04 AM
My Beretta 9mm has a 15 shot clip. Why should I have to now go and buy a new clip to satisfy your irrational fear. I took up shooting 5 years ago and I have taken the necessary training courses for safety and proper handling. I have also enrolled my son in the same courses since it is important for children to know safe handling. My guns have a trigger lock and are in a locked cabinet. However, when the time comes and our society continues to drop in levels of civility, I will move my gun to a finger ID safe in the room in case intruders become the norm. Does anyone remember the home invasions in Long Island? I wish we had the right to really get a concealed carry permit in NJ like you can in other states. Westfield is a wonderful community but we are surrounded by Plainfied, Irvington, Elizabeth and Newark. At some point when the criminals and gangs are the only ones with guns, I can thank NJ Residents for Action for all of their great work. Mr. Lance, thank you for thinking rationally and logically about citizens and their rights to home defense and please do not succumb to the rhetoric and fear mongering by certain groups. For full disclosure, I joined the NRA last year and I am a registered Democrat but vote independently.
Tim SiLVa May 14, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Your'e absolutely correct. Good on you for not blindly towing the party line. Glad to see another NJ resident using logic & reason instead of groupthink.


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