NJ “Paradox”–Tough Gun Laws Haven’t Stopped Gang Violence


The debate after the Newtown elementary school massacre has centered on the legislative approach to reducing gun violence: rein in assault rifles, downsize magazine clips, expand background checks, and review mental health protocols. An ex-convict and former gang member in Camden, N.J., tells USA Today these types of measures would do little to stem violence that for decades has plagued this small city. Dozens of frustrated city leaders, residents, law enforcement officials, and other experts echo the conclusion that the blood in Camden’s streets isn’t just about gun laws. “I wanted to shoot people because that’s what I saw growing up,” said Anderson Baker, 20, a Camden native who spent four years in jail after being involved in shootings. “We need to not just try to prevent the next Newtown but look at what is haunting the people in the densely populated, poorest sections of our country,” said Camden County Chief of Police Scott Thomson. “You have this paradox in that New Jersey has arguably the toughest gun laws in the nation yet has a city within it that has gun violence at Third World country rates.”

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