Investors first honed in on New Jersey’s shorelines for their entertainment

The recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court in the Bruen decision has determined individual citizens have a right to be in public with a concealed loaded firearm regardless of whether they can demonstrate a legitimate reason or concern for their safety.

Ironically, this will undoubtedly cost the lives of innocent New Jersey residents. As such, legislators must act to limit the damage that will be wrought by this ruling while at the same time respecting what is now the law of the land.

Let’s keep it simple. This means thousands of people with loaded guns in the nation’s most densely populated state . . . what could go wrong?

In the majority decision, Justice Clarence Thomas indicated we must disregard the benefits of gun safety regulation when considering Second Amendment rights. Of course, he said so, as the empirical data studies overwhelming demonstrate the carnage to come if New Jersey does not enact regulation.

A major study completed in 2022 concluded that more lenient right-to-carry laws has led to a 29% increase in firearm violent crime, a 32% increase in robberies involving firearms and a 35% increase in the theft of legal guns. Missouri and Connecticut are two recent examples, with the former relaxing right-to-carry laws and the latter having more restrictive ones. Missouri saw a 15% increase in violent crime while Connecticut had a marked decrease.

A police officer, notwithstanding all of their training and experience, faced with split-second decisions to use lethal force can result in tragic and irreversible consequences. Simple logic dictates allowing an individual with minimal training into chaotic high-pressure moments, mistaking a perceived threat and shooting inaccurately, will result in the needless loss of life. Everyday disputes can turn into lethal confrontations. It is for this and other common-sense reasons that the major law enforcement unions support the Legislature’s approach.

There is the Rambo myth where a good guy with a gun will surely save the day. Yet, according to the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey, only 2% percent of victims of nonfatal violent crime and 1% percent of property crime victims use guns in self-defense.

The truth cannot be denied. More guns in public make us less safe. As such, it is our duty as a Legislature to be guided by the law of the land while at the same time crafting a law to best limit the damage it will do. There are those who argue that our designation of sensitive places is “too broad” and should be “narrowly tailored.” The heightened scrutiny test requires a law to be narrowly tailored to advance a compelling state interest.

Justice Thomas wrote that the Bruen decision was not meant to be a regulatory straight jacket. The ruling decided nothing as to whom may purchase a gun. Nor did it prevent guns from being banned from sensitive places. In their concurrence with the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito made it clear that the Second Amendment allows a variety of gun regulations.

Thus, beyond the New Jersey Legislature listing common sense areas where loaded concealed guns should be prohibited, requirements for applicants such as background checks and training are all within the constitutional ambit. Similarly, the $200 fee, a small percentage of what it really takes for law enforcement to complete the requisite checks, is fair as a recent Federal case in another jurisdiction upheld a $340 fee.

As of this writing, there have been 18,235 homicides in our nation as well as 21,714 suicides along with 46 school shootings this year. The United States Supreme Court in its wisdom has negated New Jersey law, which for 100 years limited who could conceal and carry loaded weapons. It is now up to our wisdom to follow the tradition of New Jersey with reasonable gun regulations that both respects Second Amendment rights and will save lives.

Assemblyman John McKeon represents the 27th Legislative District, which includes parts of Morris and Essex counties. McKeon is one of the prime sponsors of A4769, which regulates conceal and carry permits.

Roller coasters, ferris wheels and family-friendly rides light up the landscape of the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook Bay down to Cape May County.

Investors first honed in on New Jersey’s shorelines for their entertainment venues more than a century ago, said Jim Futrell, director and historian of the National Amusement Park Historical Association. Families flocked to the parks for entertainment and cool air along the shore.

But the epicenter of thrill-seeking in the Garden State wasn’t always along the coast. Dozens of amusement parks used to be found in more urban areas but eventually they couldn’t stand the test of time.

“Some things never change,” Futrell said. “The heart and soul of the industry in New Jersey is the shore.”

While those amusement parks throughout the state might be lost — many for decades — for those who visited them, they’re not forgotten.

Here are the Garden State’s most memorable amusement parks throughout the years:
Palisades Amusement Park

Anyone who spent their childhood within driving distance of Cliffside Park and Fort Lee was sure to know of Palisades Amusement Park. The park opened in 1898 as a picnic grove, according to the Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society. Ten years later, by 1908, it had a carousel, rides and a wild west show.

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