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Like many other affluent areas in the country, Newark is populated by heavily armed individuals with super-sized weaponry, many of whom were personally targeted by cops more than once.
The city has the second-highest population of police-sensitive weapons in the U.S., according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics for the first six months of 2018.
Guns are not the only cause of this amount of violence: the city also saw a dramatic increase in murder in 2018. But it comes as gun bans have been repealed in several jurisdictions, including neighboring Paterson.
Sharegun, an organization that keeps a database of law enforcement-sensitive weaponry, measured the number of police-sensitive weapons in the city from 2011 through 2017.
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To account for personal responsibility, such databases are compiled using different forms. The Bureau of Justice Statistics classifies police-sensitive weapons as firearms and automatically applies Department of Justice criteria based on Department of Justice regulations. There, only operational weapons that are used in a civil process such as a search warrant for a weapons investigation, or for executing a stop and frisk, are treated as police-sensitive weapons.
But there are also customizable forms that take into account personal responsibility. For example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics takes an optional qualifier to account for a gun being a nuisance, a brand new weapon owned by a person who finds their family exposed to it, or a weapon that was brought from another state and gifts it to a law enforcement agency as a Christmas gift. But no sheriff or police chief in the country was compelled to include a category on personal responsibility.
In a letter to Phil Murphy, who will be sworn in as New Jersey’s governor on Tuesday, several local lawmakers and community leaders requested that the Murphy administration change the state of New Jersey to require organizations and law enforcement agencies to include a personal responsibility category on the database.