Perhaps Bergen County and the state of New Jersey would not be quite so hostile to gun owners if its major newspaper did not allow anti-gun activist supporters of Sen. Weinberg to cover her and decide what the public needed to know.
Everyone knows that New Jersey is one of the most hostile states to gun owners. Less known is that the anti-gun owner campaign is largely driven by activists in one northern region: Bergen County. At once the most populous and most leftist area of the state, Bergen County’s politics are closer to those of neighboring Manhattan than the more moderate western or southern counties of New Jersey. (Arguably, Bergen County is the main reason that statewide elections usually swing Democratic.) The county is home to the state senate majority leader, Loretta Weinberg, who has earned a national reputation in recent years for her blind and vitriolic prejudice against gun owners. Weinberg typically wins re-election by a margin of 40-50%.
The county is also home to the Bergen County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, founded by the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. The Society is so closely affiliated with the Coalition that the Society boasts of founding the Coalition (see, e.g., the bottom of this page at the Society’s website) and filling the Coalition’s officer positions (see, e.g., the bottom of this page at the Society’s website). The Ethical Culture Society still offers support to the Coalition’s activities (just run a search for the two names together and skim the results). The Coalition, the Society, and Sen. Loretta Weinberg are all located in the town of Teaneck.
Following the December 14, 2012 Newtown school shooting, members of both groups spent several months thereafter urging local town councils to approve a resolution demanding a slew of severe restrictions against gun owners, including a five-round magazine limit that would have effectively banned most handguns. All or most of the councils quickly obliged.
Since then, in their ongoing anti-gun owner campaigns, the Coalition and Society, whether separately or jointly (it can be hard to tell which), have continued to hold rallies, protests, vigils, and discussions, at which Sen. Weinberg herself has sometimes spoken. All three – Weinberg, the Coalition, and the Society – have made the exploitation of the Newtown tragedy chief among their talking points. For example, Sen. Weinberg arranged for a selected number of Newtown parents to testify in the New Jersey statehouse. And the Coalition holds an annual Newtown memorial, complete with guitar-playing and candle-lighting, that’s attended, of course, by Sen. Weinberg.
All this is as one might expect. As dangerous these efforts might be to the ability of ordinary Americans to avail themselves of the right to armed self defense, this sort of campaign resembles other irrational, emotion-driven efforts against gun owners held regularly from Connecticut to California.