With the memory of the Newtown Connecticut school massacre still fresh in many people's minds, Governor Christie's NJ SAFE Task Force has held the first of 3 planned public hearings this week, to gather ideas and suggestions about how to reduce gun violence in the Garden state.

Testimony at NJ Safe Task Force hearing in Camden (YouTube)

More than a hundred South Jersey residents showed up in Camden, with many addressing the panel.

"Those who espouse stricter gun control don't seem to recognize that they are only attacking law abiding citizens," said one man. "Criminals simply don't care…How many liberties do law-abiding citizens have left, while criminals simply ignore the law? The only thing that can stop a bad guy is a good guy with a gun…Perps - all perps - have a common interest, it's called self-preservation. But psychos on the other hand don't care - no law is going to prevent the psychos from going off."

Another man said, "As far as the violence in this society, I think we've gone way beyond the reasonable amount of gun control on the law-abiding citizens. We have a general violent society, whether it be tv, video, movies. What we need to do is get back to the point where we have individuals being held responsible for their own actions - make mandatory sentences for any violent crime - whether it's a gun, a rock, a stick, a knife or whatever it might be."

Another resident said, "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This was meant as a deterrent to the government not to overstep their authority with any type of force - the type of arms that the law abiding citizens keep should be of no concern to the government. Citizens must have the most modern type of weapons available to them…I am tired of the law-abiding citizens of this state being penalized and punished for the criminals illegal activities…It is an absolute abomination that the law-abiding citizens are always the ones who have to suffer because of the deeds of the criminals. The main problem with the violence in this state is the criminal justice system being over-crowded…that the criminals and those needing medical treatment for mental health issues are being released to run free."

Others attending the hearing felt more gun regulation is needed.

"We should focus on the flow of illegal guns coming into New Jersey from other states which have loose gun laws," said one man. "Eighty percent of New Jersey law-abiding citizens who don't own a gun need to be protected from the tyranny of the minority - represented by the NRA's outrageous and inflexible positions."

Another individual stated, "New Jerseyans overwhelmingly demand increased restrictions on guns and ammunition. New Jerseyans want their political leaders to get serious and enact a set of stronger gun laws and not dawdle as lives are lost."

Two additional public hearings are planned for this week - one in Lincroft tonight, and another at Rutgers, Newark tomorrow evening.