I urge Mayor Skibitsky to join Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). This is a bipartisan group of mayors supporting moderate measures to limit gun violence in our communities. I also strongly support our council passing the model ordinance distributed by the MAIG.
We were all affected by the shocking violence at Newtown Ct. December 14th. The town council and mayor received several e-mails from parents concerned about their children’s safety at their schools. The Mayor and the Superintendent of Schools issued a joint communication about the procedures and preparedness of the schools if such an incident were to occur here. Clearly, as a community where raising families is at the core of who we are, this issue is of deep concern and one that directly affects our residents.
We cannot pass local laws to directly impact gun violence. The residents appearing before the council the past two weeks, instead, asked the Mayor to join the mayors of Fanwood, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Madison, Milburn, Morristown and many others as a member of MAIG and to lobby our federal officials for moderate measures to lessen gun violence. I asked the council to pass the MAIG model resolution supporting these same principles.
- Increased reporting of mental health records into the NICS database
- passage of The Fix Gun Checks Act in the United States Congress
- legislation to get military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines away from our community and schools
- passage of legislation that would make gun trafficking a federal crime
These are widely supported and moderate measures. In a recent poll, 96% of NJ residents overall and more than 90% of those in homes with a gun supported uniform background checks. The poll found high support for limiting access to assault weapons (69%) and high capacity magazines (70% ). The MAIG web site states, ”We support the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to own guns. We recognize that the vast majority of gun dealers and gun owners carefully follow the law.” No one is suggesting taking away the right to own a gun.
Unfortunately, rather than joining with these mayors, or passing a resolution that included some rather than all of the proposals, the Westfield council passed its own resolution which in my view offers little more than a weak statement that we oppose gun violence. The resolution calls for state and federal legislators to pass legislation to prevent gun violence and residents to provide input to the governors NJ SAFE task force. The mayor refused to join MAIG. Given the years of debate on this issue and the wide public support for these specific regulations we could hardly have done less. I hope my colleagues on the council and the mayor will re-think their positions and join me in telling our representatives that we’ve seen enough gun violence.