01/14/2013 03:56 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2013

Ralph Froehlich, New Jersey's Longest-Serving Sheriff, Urges Action On Gun Control

FILE -- In this July 17, 2012, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a press conference in Phoenix. Th
FILE -- In this July 17, 2012, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a press conference in Phoenix. The tough-talking sheriff is the last man standing of the three Phoenix politicians who made Arizona a leader in the crackdown against illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

The longest-serving sheriff in New Jersey history is taking aim at what he sees as a gun culture that urges people to carry "killing weapons" and on Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio's (R) plan to have an armed "posse" patrol schools.

Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D) said that he is looking for Congress to adopt a "reasonable approach" to gun safety. The sheriff singled out the need to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons as part of his push, along with creating a registry to track the ownership history of each gun. Froehlich's comments come after he joined former New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio (D) and a group of New Jersey mayors on Monday morning in Cranford to kick off an effort to enact new gun control laws after the fatal elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

"I am looking for a reasonable approach to gun safety. Shame on us when we emphasize the need to have dangerous assault weapons," Froehlich told The Huffington Post Monday afternoon. "It is a killing weapon for war. Those poor little souls in Connecticut, some would still be alive if it wasn't for a 30-round magazine. With a 30-round magazine you spray, you don't aim. The people trying to escape did not have a chance. It's stupid, it's stupid."

Froehlich said that while he would like to see Congress ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, he realizes it is an uphill battle in Washington. He noted that with the money from the pro-Second Amendment lobby and the political clout of the National Rifle Association, it will be tough.

Froehlich said his opinion was influenced by an appearance last week by Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro on CNN's "Piers Morgan Show," in which Shapiro advocated for assault weapons.

"The guy was absolutely out of his mind," Froehlich said about Shapiro.

Froehlich also slammed proposals that have been sweeping through state Legislatures around the country to allow teachers to carry guns in order to fight back against mass murderers in schools. He said a series of problems exist with the issue, including the need to decide which type of gun to provide teachers, the need for twice-yearly certification classes and the role of a teacher. He praised the teachers in Connecticut for their actions.

"They are not there to carry a gun; that is not the teacher's function," he said. "It's asinine."

Froehlich, a former Elizabeth police lieutenant first elected sheriff in 1977, said that he does not agree with Arpaio's controversial plan to have members of his "posse" patrol schools in the Phoenix area.

"I don't even want to talk about that guy. He is so far out of the real world," Froehlich said. "He has his philosophies and I have mine, and they are not close together."

Froehlich has helped initiate a push by mayors to lobby Congress on gun control. A group of New Jersey mayors, led by Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr (D) and Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley (D), will join other members of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

"The legislative priorities that the coalition is pushing are a step in the right direction," Holley told HuffPost. "It can stop the crimes that are occurring."



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