Arrest of New Jersey Marine Highlights Issues with Gun-Free Zones

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TRENTON, NJ – A Mercer County man was arrested Friday night after he posted threats online to kill white people, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced. Joshua Cobb, 23, of Trenton, was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce.

According to the criminal complaint, on December 17, 2022, Cobb posted a message on social media stating his intent to cause mayhem targeting white people. He detailed plans for an attack to be carried out in 2023, emphasizing that he chose a location where he was certain no one would be armed to stop him. Cobb’s plan included acquiring multiple firearms and scoping out entry and exit points.

“I want to cause mayhem on the white community. The reason i specifically want to target white people is because as a black male, they will NEVER understand my struggles. Same way I will never understand their struggles, but I don’t care to. I want to erase them. All of them really, but in this case as many as I possibly can. As of today I have officially began planning my attack. It is going to take place in 2023 in the state of New Jersey, I have not chosen an exact date but I am going to be sure it is close to an important holiday to their race. I have a location in mind already which I have frequented for the past year and I am certain nobody there is armed to be able to stop me from spraying them to the ground. I have already acquired 2 of the 4 firearms I plan to use for my attack, and I also know my entry and exit points already after the mayhem.”

In subsequent posts in April and May 2023, Cobb expressed his desire to become a serial killer, citing his hatred for life and his intent to make others feel his pain through bloodshed. Cobb joined the U.S. Marine Corps in June 2023 and was stationed in California until his recent discharge.

During an interview with law enforcement, Cobb admitted to making the threatening posts and identified potential targets, including a Jersey Strong gym and an Aldi grocery store in Robbinsville, NJ. He discussed his access to firearms and admiration for other mass shooters.

The Dangers of Gun-Free Zones

Cobb’s detailed planning and selection of gun-free zones for his intended attacks underscore a significant issue: gun-free zones can become targets for criminals who know that law-abiding citizens will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves. While the concept of gun-free zones aims to enhance safety, it often leaves innocent people vulnerable.

Criminals, by definition, do not abide by laws, including those establishing gun-free zones. This case illustrates how such restrictions can inadvertently create attractive targets for those intent on causing harm. As responsible gun owners and advocates for self-defense, it’s crucial to recognize that disarming law-abiding citizens does not deter criminals but rather emboldens them.

In this incident, Cobb’s intention to exploit a gun-free zone for his attack highlights the need for a reevaluation of such policies. Ensuring that citizens retain the right to defend themselves, particularly in places where they might be targeted, is essential for public safety.

The charge against Cobb carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The investigation leading to Cobb’s arrest involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and local police departments.

As we reflect on this case, it’s vital to advocate for policies that empower citizens to protect themselves and their communities, ensuring that safety measures do not inadvertently create opportunities for those who seek to do harm.

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