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It may changed since, but when I was growing up in NJ long ago, nobody's parents hunted, or went to the range or had grandpa buy them their first gun, etc. Heck, none of us even had a BB-gun! The stories I used to hear about kids in Texas coming to school with a few shotguns in the back of their pickup trucks was non-existent among my circle of friends and classmates. In fact, if a classmate even suggested something like that, we would have all been saying to each other, "what is his/her problem"?

Axe-u-lee, what has changed in N.J. is that they elected a bunch of anti-gun liberals. I was born and raised in N.J. in the 40s and 50s. We had a winter house in Union County and a “beach house” in Lavallette that initially my aunt & uncle lived in with their 2 kids until we’all built them a house 6 or 5 blocks away. Back then, BB guns were not legal and only shotguns were legal for hunting. Jack, my cousin, along with George and Larry, the kids across the street from the beach house all hunted ducks on Barnegat Bay. I had a few friends in high school who also hunted. In Lenape Park, located north of Cranford and west of Kenilworth, there was a county run pistol and small bore rifle range located in one area and a skeet and trap range in another area that was open to the public on weekends. We would, occasionally, ride our bikes over there and collect spent bullets after school to cast sinkers & scuba weights.
In the 50s, one could buy ammunition and cigarettes of you were 16 years old. Since one had to be 17 to get a driver’s license, we had no I.D. and, if you looked 16, one could buy ammo at 15 or even 14. One had to be 18 to buy rifles & shotguns. One needed a license from the state to buy pistols, which was fairly difficult to obtain.

There were a number of sporting goods stores in Union County at that time and many hardware stores sold firearms and ammo. Ray’s Sport Center on Route 22 in Plainfield had the best selection of sporting firearms and ammo. Service Armament Company in Ridgefield had a large selection of surplus military arms for sale including artillery and 20 mm anti-tank rifles. That was the place to go for surplus military ammo for ones WW-2 or Korean War souvenirs.

All that started to change in the late 60s and early 70s. They introduced a firearms identification card, which was voluntary, in 1968 or 69. In 1970 they passed a law that one had to show an I.D. card and sign a record to buy pistol ammo including 22 rimfire ammo. I remembers that there was more paperwork to buy a box of 22s at Sneers & Rowboat in Plainfield in 1971 than when I bought a half case of dynamite in Fairbanks, Alaska. Since then it has only gotten worse to the point that I sold my half of the beach house to my brother and I have no desire to go back to Jersey, me.

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