Piscataway Council Votes to Prohibit Retail Gun Sales Near Schools and Parks

Piscataway Council Votes to Prohibit Retail Gun Sales Near Schools and Parks Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Attorney Daniel Schmutter, on behalf of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club calls ordinance unconstitutional. Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Piscataway resident, Helen Pirrello whose granddaughter witnessed the Feb. 14 Parkland, FL school shooting makes plea in favor of ordinance. Credits: Kenneth Simmons

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Members of the public stood and applauded as the Piscataway Township Council voted to approve a new ordinance banning local retailers from selling guns and ammunition within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, and other public places where children may gather in the township.

The unanimous vote to amend Chapter 21 Zoning “to provide the conditions of firearm sales use within the township” came at Thursday’s council meeting before both supporters and opponents of the measure proposed by Ward 3 Councilman, Steven Cahn to address the recent mass shooting issues that have affected communities across the nation.

While there are no retail businesses currently selling firearms in Piscataway, Cahn said at the May 8 council meeting when the ordinance was first proposed, that town officials wanted to be proactive in preventing future businesses from selling them, and without such an ordinance, there is no way to prohibit it. He also said they worked to make sure the ordinance did not infringe on Second Amendment rights.

Sign Up for E-News

But an attorney representing the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club who he said has members who are residents of Piscataway, raised objections to the ordinance at Thursday’s meeting, calling it unconstitutional.

“You can’t ban people from purchasing firearms within a town limit and can’t ban businesses from selling them within a town limit,” said Daniel Schmutter of Hartman & Winnicki, P.C. of Ridgewood, NJ. He said the township misinterpreted the decision in the Alameda, CA case on which the ordinance is based.

“State licensed dealers are explicitly allowed by state law to sell firearms,” he said, adding that “municipalities are not allowed to circumvent this by making it difficult or prohibitive to operate a lawfully licensed business within the municipality.”

Township attorney, Mike Baker disagreed with Schmutter’s interpretation saying that the ordinance was drafted not to sidestep state laws that already limit the number of weapons that can be legally purchased in a month, but to rezone areas where gun shops could operate.

“Zoning power is not pre-empted by the state and is a local issue,” said Baker. “In the Alameda case, the court found that local zoning can be used in the way that we have used it, to regulate the areas where gun sales can take place. We’re not limiting who can own them, we’re not preventing them from carrying, we’re not prohibiting purchasing. We’re regulating the sale of firearms in certain areas that the community has deemed sensitive areas, such as near churches, synagogues, schools and day care centers.”

Helen Pirrello, a long-time Piscataway resident and Ward 2, District 3 Democratic Committeewoman said her granddaughter witnessed the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and lost some friends. She made an emotional plea to Schmutter’s claim that the ordinance would be unconstitutional if passed.

“My granddaughter was in Parkland, in a Freshman school, in a classroom that was shot-up with bullets because of a person that they knew had really difficult problems, and nobody did anything to prevent him from getting into that school or getting him help,” Pirrello told Schmutter.

“We’re not asking you to give up all of your firearms,” she continued, describing the shooting scene and the psychological effect it has had on her granddaughter, who she said now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“We’re telling you that you cannot have them by schools, by children’s areas, by playgrounds, by hospitals,” said Pirrello. “You can’t regulate morality and you can’t make sense out of crazy. But we can create laws to try to prevent what has happened in other places.”

“So, you tell me, sir, why we cannot have this ordinance in this town of Piscataway which is rated one of the best towns in the country,” Pirrello demanded of Schmutter. “You tell me why you want your people to be able to buy a gun next to a school, next to a playground, next to a day care. You can go back and tell your people that there was a very emotional grandmother telling you that you don’t need to be buying firearms because our forefathers didn’t have a world like this. Our forefathers did that amendment to protect their lands and property from being invaded. Not to go out and shoot up the world.”

Schmutter was seen leaving the council meeting after the vote to adopt the resolution. It is not known if he responded to Pirrello’s comments.

“This is not a single fix, but a multifaceted one that is a step in the right direction,” said Michelle Lombardi, Ward 4 Councilwoman. “It’s not going to stop here. This is just our first step to try to advocate for all these children who have had these horrific experiences.” is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

Businesses: Advertise with TAPinto Piscataway. Click here for more information.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


TapInto Welcomes Letters to the Editor, Guidelines for Submission Listed

PISCATAWAY, NJ - Letters to the Editor are a time-honored tradition in the newspaper industry and now that so much of news has moved online, the letters explaining a personal point of view have moved with it.

While many of our letters come during election time, TapInto invites letters year round. The main rules are to include a full name, phone number, email and snail mail address. TapInto ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Company Gets Fed OK to Operate Job Center in Edison

July 21, 2018

EDISON, NJ - Management & Training Corporation (MTC) has been awarded a 2-year contract - with the potential for three, one-year options - to operate the Edison Job Corps center. MTC was founded on Job Corps and currently operates 22 centers nationwide.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We are very pleased with this opportunity to educate and train ...


Hillsborough, NJ - Gina (Francoisa) Salamon, 90, died Monday, July 9, 2018 at Bridgeway Care Center ...
Read more
Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more

Rockin In The Park

July 21, 2018

Rockin In The Park "Rockin The Park" Family Fun Day will be on August 19th at Springwood Park in Asbury Park at 12pm. This event will host food, fun and family activities. Music will be provided by DJ Smooth, DJ Hands Up and DJ KJBEST1.

We would like to thank the two organizations assisted in sponsoring this event, The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and the College Achieved Charter ...

The Somerset Patriots And 9-1-1 On FOX Are Looking For Hero First Responders

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Patriots and 9-1-1 On FOX are asking for Hero First Responder nominations from the community.

Nominate a first responder to be recognized on the field during the pre-game ceremony and throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the Saturday, August 4th Somerset Patriots game against the New Britain Bees at TD Bank Ballpark. Three first responders will be chosen ...

Piscataway Library Accepting Diaper Donations Now Through July 31st

The Piscataway Public Library is helping the Central Jersey Diaper Bank collect diaper donations through the month of July. 

New or open packs of disposable baby diapers (all sizes) and wipes are needed.

Look for the blue bins at either Kennedy or Westergard to donate!

Rutgers-Newark Athletic Field Renamed to Honor Frederick Douglass

Newark, NJ – Long before Rutgers University-Newark created an athletic field on University Avenue, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered an address in 1849 at a church that once stood there.

Rutgers Board of Governors approved a resolution to rename the field in honor of the time Douglass spent here. The field will now be called the Frederick Douglass ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Sun, July 22, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Sun, July 22, 11:00 AM

Columbia Park Senior Center, Dunellen

Bus Trip to SOPAC's Hunchback of Notre Dame ...

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, July 23, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Washington Park, Dunellen

Free Music in the Park | Princesa - Pop / Latin

Arts & Entertainment

Video Emerges of Parents Arguing at Junior Baseball State Sectional Championships

July 21, 2018

FORT LEE, NJ -  Nutley made it to Junior League Baseball Section 2 Championship before falling to Saddle Brook last night. 

The game was marred by an incident that began in the bleachers during the third inning as parents representing both teams began shouting at each other.  The expletive-filled argument, behind the Nutley dugout and near child spectators, ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

July 15, 2018

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Would Shedding

How much wood wouldn’t a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck woodn’t?


Enough already.  


I get it.  It is an easy mistake to make, misusing would and wouldn’t.  It happens to me all the time.


“Honey, when I said I didn’t see any reason why I would go to the ballet, I meant to say I couldn’t see ...