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Bayonne’s proposed firearms ban in public buildings put on hold

Council members raised questions over which law enforcement officers would be exempt

Bayonne is contemplating restricting the carrying of firearms in certain public locations. Image via Shutterstock.

Bayonne is holding off on banning the carrying of firearms in public for now. The city was considering a prohibition on carrying firearms in public buildings, and potentially city parks and areas that are the city’s responsibility.

The City Council was set to introduce an ordinance at its August 17 meeting. However, at the meeting, City Council President Gary La Pelusa asked that it not be introduced yet, to which the council agreed and the ordinance was not advanced.

After the meeting, La Pelusa told the Bayonne Community News that the council is still working out the specifics of the ordinance.

“We’re just trying to iron out the details,” La Pelusa said. “We did a little research into it and I happen to have two former law officers on the council.”

Since the August 10 caucus meetings, questions were raised by City Councilman At-Large Juan Perez, a former Hudson County Sheriff, and City Councilman At-Large Loyad Booker, a retired police officer, about which law enforcement officers would be exempt from the ban and be allowed to carry firearms in public buildings. Following that, La Pelusa said the council agreed to to hold off on introducing the ordinance just yet.

“They were asking some questions that had to do with the differences between retired, off-duty, on-duty, and who can carry, and who’s duty it is to carry and who’s responsibility,” La Pelusa said. “Those are the questions and that was the reason why.”

In addition, La Pelusa wants to meet with other key figures on the matter. He said this would include Mayor James Davis, a retired police captain, Police Chief Robert Geisler, and Public Safety Director Robert Kubert among others. He said that after meeting with the aforementioned parties, the ordinance will continue to be worked on until the council is satisfied.

“We want to have a little more clarification and we need to go over this, so I actually, myself and a few others, want to at least hear the viewpoints of the Police Chief, the Public Safety Director, and the Mayor, who is also a retired law enforcement officer,” La Pelusa said. “These are the people we’d like to hear what they have to say. I think it’s more for the lay people like myself who want to hear what they have to say. The people who are former law enforcement, they kind of know how they feel about it. But for us, it really posed a gray area for me that I didn’t feel comfortable voting on something at the moment.”

No firearms in public buildings?

The ordinance that was going to be introduced would have made it so that no person would “be permitted to carry any firearm, concealed or otherwise, in any public building at any time.” This would have included “all public spaces owned, controlled or otherwise under the jurisdiction of the City of Bayonne, and in any school building or spaces owned, controlled, or otherwise under the jurisdiction of the Bayonne Board of Education.”

The rule would have applied to everyone “except for any duly appointed law enforcement officer in the course of his or her official duties.” People with a legal permit to carry a firearm would not be permitted to do so in the “sensitive” areas.

The move followed a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. The court ruled that a New York law banning the open carrying of firearms was unconstitutional.

However, the opinion indicated that the carrying of firearms can be banned in “sensitive” areas such as government buildings. According to the ordinance, the city wished to address this issue by banning the carrying of firearms within any public building owned by the City of Bayonne or the Board of Education, unless the person carrying the firearm is a law enforcement officer.

The proposed ordinance also followed a recent string of gun violence in the city. Officials are seeking to address rising crime, and this appeared to be one way of attempting to doing that.

However, since not being introduced, the ordinance is now being reworked with help from Perez and Booker. It may be introduced at the next meeting of the council in September.

The City Council will meet next on September 21 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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