By Rebecca Schmoe, 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control
The June 3, 2015, tragedy in Berlin Township, NJ, where Carol Bowne was stabbed to death by her convicted felon ex-boyfriend Michael Anthony Eitel after securing a restraining order against him could have, and should have, been prevented.
Ms. Bowne obviously understood that a restraining order is simply a piece of paper that cannot effectively stop someone who is determined to cause harm. She had installed an alarm system, placed security cameras around her residence and promptly applied for a New Jersey permit to purchase a handgun on April 21, 2015.
The state of New Jersey is lawfully required to respond to permit seekers within 30 days.
Records indicate that Bowne called to inquire about her petition on day 41. Yet, in a tragic and heart wrenching turn, she was stabbed to death two days later in her own driveway as her request for her state government’s permission to protect herself with a firearm was still being processed.
After a three-day manhunt Eitel, who had been charged with the first-degree murder of Carol Bowne, was found dead Saturday, June 6, 2015.
Camden County prosecutors said he had hanged himself in the West Berlin home of a different ex-girlfriend who, “had been out of the home for her own safety.”
Carol Bowne had taken every legal step she could to protect herself in New Jersey. Her death, at the hands of a convicted felon, was a result of a state government which has purposely implemented gun laws that prevented Bowne’s right to self-defense.
If Bowne had obtained a firearm she would then have had to apply for the right to carry that firearm outside of her residence. New Jersey is a “May Issue” state, which means that every applicant not applying as a law enforcement officer must demonstrate justifiable need in order to obtain a permit.
Obviously, Bowne had justifiable need. The court acknowledged that need having granted her a restraining order against her attacker. Did this information help expedite the process of allowing Bowne to purchase a gun to protect and defend her life? Sadly, the answer is no.
Carol Bowne was left stripped of her fundamental right to protect her life with the most efficient tool available to her. The Constitution reads the same for every American, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
This is not simply a New Jersey issue. This is an American issue. When American citizens are prohibited and overlorded by state and local governments that determine who can and cannot exercise their Constitutional rights we, as a nation, need to take note and take a stand for freedom. Do not for a moment think, “At least I don’t live there.” The citizens of New Jersey are Americans just the same as the rest of us. They should be free to exercise their unalienable rights, just the same as any other American.
“Shall not be infringed,” crosses every barrier. Constitutional rights apply to all American citizens regardless of class, creed, gender, race, disability and location. They are all encompassing and they in danger of extinction if we do not stand together to protect and preserve them as a nation.
Do not let Carol Bowne’s savage murder turn into merely another statistic. Instead, honor her drive to protect herself. Let her story fuel your commitment to restoring American citizens the freedom to exercise their constitutionally protected rights.