For years, New Jersey gun owners have wondered why we keep losing our rights and have no representation against the anti-gun bigots who will stop at nothing to destroy the Second Amendment and anything related to it - including preventing legitimate gun ranges from being built. That was and still is the reason why The New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) was formulated and has grown into the state's largest and most effective Second Amendment organization.
We cannot continue to remain silent about the fact that for over 9 months, Scott Bach, who is the Executive Director of the Association of NJ Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) and an NRA board member, was missing in action when the town of Ramsey fought tooth-and-nail to prevent a top-of-the-line gun range from being built in the town. Per the ANJRPC's mission statement: “The organization’s mission or most significant activities coordinate the interest of all rifle, pistol and shooting clubs in NJ.” (Keyword: all.)
Here's what did and did not happen:
In January of 2017, NJ2AS was informed that a proposed state-of-the-art gun range was beginning to face unanticipated resistance from public officials and astroturf activists in the town Ramsey, NJ.
Given our successful history of fighting towns like Cedar Grove, East Brunswick and other municipalities against anti-Second Amendment laws from being passed, this was nothing new to us. In Ramsey, the Republican Mayor and Borough Council were attempting to pass an ordinance that would prohibit the discharging of a firearm within the town. NJ2AS' leadership and legal team reviewed the ordinance and wrote a letter to the mayor and council expressing concerns and legal challenges if the ordinance was passed. NJ2AS also worked closely with the Second Amendment Foundation on this issue, and, for those who are not aware, the Second Amendment Foundation successfully challenged and overturned similar ordinances throughout the United States.
Immediately after the letter was sent, Mayor Deirdre Dillon contacted NJ2AS President Alexander Roubian and fired back. Not being intimidated -- or impressed -- with the Dillon’s attempt to threaten and intimidate, NJ2AS' leadership was successful in preventing the ordinance from ever being brought to a vote. Despite our vigilance and success, sadly, we were told on September 18, 2017, that the range withdrew their application from the planning board.
What did not happen:
Scott Bach - ANJRPC Executive Director and NRA Board Member
We at NJ2AS were appalled and dumbfounded by the fact that Scott Bach, the executive director of the Association of NJ Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), and an NRA Board Member, was missing in action on the major issue his organization claims to represent.
Though Bach gets paid a hefty base salary of $176,000 from gun owner dues and donations, he apparently had no interest in doing the one job he has: defend the interests of all rifle, pistol and shooting clubs in New Jersey. In spite of the fact that he's a lawyer, Scott couldn't even write a letter opposing the ordinance in Ramsey. One must wonder whether he was more interested in protecting his own interests and gun range than standing up and protecting the Second Amendment.
Another troubling concern and potential conflict of interest is how can he operate his own gun range - Cherry Ridge Range (which is less than 30 minutes from Ramsey) - yet run an association that claims to fight for all ranges? Better yet, given his close relationship with other range owners in Northern NJ, were they colluding to prevent the Ramsey range from being developed?
Darin Goens - NRA Lobbyist
For those of you who do not know - and no, this isn't a joke - the NRA does have a full-time lobbyist who is suppose to fight on our behalf in NJ the way NJ2AS does. To make matters worse, Darin Goens, who lives in a town neighboring Ramsey - literally within walking distance to Ramsey council and planning board meetings - never took action on the issue (while NJ2AS leadership drove hours each way to stand up for our rights).
What possible excuse could Goens offer given that he lives a few miles from the center of Ramsey? A rational person could understand if - in over 9 months - a few meetings were missed. Unfortunately, similar to Bach, Goens was completely missing in action and never attended a single meeting or spoke out against the actions of town officials in Ramsey.
Did Goens' close relationship with Bach and other gun ranges in Northern NJ interfere with standing up for the Second Amendment in Ramsey and getting the NRA involved?
These are a few of the many questions that should be asked and it is time we start being critical of the supposed “leaders” who claim to be fighting on our behalf. If Ramsey is even a hint of how things are handled in Trenton by Bach and Goens, it's no surprise that New Jersey is in the state it is when it comes to the Second Amendment.
There's little doubt that Bach and Goens, as well as the ANJPRC and NRA, could have helped mount an even larger war than NJ2AS did against the anti-Second Amendment bigots in Ramsey. Rest assured that this fight is far from over, and we will expose the questionable and unethical activities surrounding the range development in Ramsey.