Gerry Cardinale and the Gun Lobby: Perfect Together

by Stephen Yellin

I've previously written here about NJ-39 and Gerry Cardinale; you can read the articles here: 59/993 8/9971

Yesterday I profiled New Jersey State Senator Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale and his ultra-conservative positions that he's taken throughout his 25-year career. However, I deliberately did not mention his most extreme belief - on gun control. Let me be clear: New Jersey is NOT an NRA-friendly state. In fact, one reason former Governor Jim Florio nearly won reelection in 1993 after dropping to an 18% approval rating was because of his courageous efforts to promote gun safety and reform the state's gun laws. One of his chief opponents in that fight was Gerry Cardinale. And after 25 years as a State Senator, Cardinale continues to promote an extreme, NRA-style agenda on gun control that is way out of line with New Jersey voters.

I want to start with a sad reminder; a few days ago marked six months since the Virginia Tech massacre. I mention this only because one of the students killed that day was from Dumont, the biggest town in Cardinale's district (NJ-39). His funeral drew mourners and well-wishers from all over the state, including Governor Jon Corzine, Acting Governor Dick Codey and many other New Jersey leaders. The only legislators who didn't show up were Gerry Cardinale and his running mates (John Rooney and Charlotte Vandervalk). In fact, Cardinale never even released a statement on the massacre. This is not to say that Gerry Cardinale is an evil man - he isn't. But it was heartless of him to stay away, particularly since it was one of his constituents who had died.

Here's another example for you. You go to visit your doctor for a routine checkup. While you're there, you notice that your doctor has a handgun in his cabinet, next to his other "tools of the trade". Naturally, you ask him or her why they're allowed to carry a gun with them to their office. "Because Gerry Cardinale said I could," is their reply. "In fact, he lets me carry it around with me all the time."

Yep, that's right. If Gerry Cardinale's bill in 1999 had been enacted into law, then doctors and dentists would be allowed to carry handguns AT ALL TIMES. Here's the language of the bill:

"The Legislature declares that it is altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest, to revise the statutes of this State governing the issuance of permits to carry handguns by enacting the provisions of this act so that medical doctors, dentists, nurses and other licensed medical practitioners who provide medical and dental services in high-crime areas may exercise their natural and unalienable rights to provide for the defense, protection and safety of the property entrusted to their care and of themselves by carrying a handgun, if they so choose." (S 1289, 1998-1999)

Um, ok. Thanks, but no thanks Gerry - I'd rather not give the guy saving my life the opportunity to play "Dr. Death". Thankfully, the bill never became law. Still, Cardinale has proposed similar legislation in the past; in 1997, for example he proposed a bill to allow ordinary folks to carry concealed weapons (according to the Bergen Record).

He has also consistently opposed gun control legislation throughout his 25-year career in the State Senate. In 1992 he led the NRA charge to repeal Governor Florio's assault rifles ban, and in 1999 voted against child-safety locks for handguns. And in 2003, when New Jersey became the first state in the nation to promote future "Smart Gun" technology (it only allows the gun owner to fire the gun), Cardinale was one of just 5 State Senators to vote against the bill (again, taken from the Bergen Record).

You may be asking why Cardinale has gone to such lengths to promote an NRA-style agenda, while denigrating any and all supporters of gun control. Frankly, I don't know either. But what it shows to me is a lack of compassion and leadership on an issue that matters to many New Jerseyans - and to any American family that has lost a loved one to gun violence. To remove Cardinale from the State Senate this November would be a tremendous service for New Jersey, to say the least. To find out about the man who's going to replace him, go to and read about Joe Ariyan and his running mates. You'll be glad you did.

Tags: 2007, Elections, Gerald Cardinale, gun control, guns, Joseph Ariyan, legislature, new jersey, NJ-39 (all tags)


1 Comment

Let me know what YOU think

Btw, "Perfect Together" was a New Jersey state slogan in the 1980s, used by ex-Governor and 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean, Sr. (also a Republican).

by MrLiberal 2007-09-18 04:43AM | 0 recs


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