Town of Westfield Passes Gun Violence Resolution
Mayor urged residents to contact legislators to make their voices heard.
At Tuesday evening's meeting of the Westfield Town Council, Mayor Andy Skibitsky began by addressing gun control concerns raised at last week's meeting.
"In order to move forward, we need to have a dispassionate discussion about a passionate issue," said Skibitsky, who stated that over the past week many messages were left at his home and office, several of which were "impolite."
The mayor read a resolution urging legislators to address gun violence, which was passed by all members of the council with the exception of Councilman David Haas, who abstained. Haas, who stated that he had been given the resolution moments before the meeting began, said he wished the resolution had "teeth."
Not only should the resolution be forwarded to the state legislature, said Haas, but also it should endorse the closing of background check loopholes and impose restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips. Haas said if the Town was going to lobby for something it should be "something specific." The councilman said he would feel better if the wording more closely resembled that used by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Skibitsky said he intended to forward the resolution to the legislature and urged residents to make their voices heard by contacting Gov. Chris Christie's NJ Safe Task Force, which is holding meetings multiple times this week. The mayor added that emails can be sent to email@example.com.
Karen Egert, president of NJ Residents for Action, thanked the mayor for passing the resolution and shared that she and members of her organization have been working tirelessly since the Sandy Hook shooting to try to meet with Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7) in the hope of setting up a town hall-style meeting where residents could voice their concerns.
On Monday, Egert and members of the group were able to meet with Lance but Egert said the congressman was unwillingly to commit to a town hall-style meeting in Westfield. Egert also thanked Skibitsky for directing residents to the task force.
Following the meeting, Egert said she was "thrilled at what the mayor said."
"He came out with the issue and I feel showed a lot of support," she said. "I feel he showed a lot of leadership."
Westfield resident David Glasker spoke and thanked the council for passing the resolution but said that he, like Haas, wished the wording were stronger.
Lori Bennett, who attended last week's meeting, again urged Skibitsky to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Also during the public comment portion of the meeting, Adina Enculescu once again asked the council to do something about the placement of the Central Avenue HAWK light which stands in front of her home. Enculescu said former councilman Mark Ciarrocca and a female companion were nearly hit by a car in December while trying to cross the street. She said this is because it is not uncommon for someone to press the button to active the light and still have three to four cars pass through it without stopping. She also noted that since Superstorm Sandy the light has been tilted and wondered why, if it is working so well, has no one noticed or fixed this.
The Town Council will hold its next meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19.