Councilman David Haas Urges Mayor Skibitsky to Join Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Haas says he hopes Skibitsky will join local mayors to lobby "federal officers for measures to lessen gun violence."

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.

Dave Haas

Mitch Slater February 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Thank you Dave Haas for speaking out.....It is incredible that our Mayor has not immediately jumped all over this and stood side by side with other Mayors, like Mike Bloomberg, in saying no to gun violence. As a 21 year resident I am shocked that Westfield has not joined this coalition. Not to mention Mr. NRA- Leonard Lance who has turned his back on his constituents as well. No one is taking away the 2nd Amendment or taking away one's rights to own a gun- That is just what the NRA wants you to believe. I would hope our Mayor would be smarter than that.
Party Insider February 21, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Skibitsky will wait until the last minute to join or not join at all. At Bramnick's party Friday night he rubbed elbows with influential politicos from the state assembly and is hoping to make a run at state office once Bramnick vacates his seat in a run for Congress. For Skibitsky to jump on this liberal bandwagon, he would have to be all but assured of an assembly seat. Running for a third term as mayor is for the purposeonly of keeping his name in the poitical game. Tell Andy to show up to a council meeting once in awhile. Every time you pick up the Leader, it reports he wasn't at the meeting.
MarciB February 21, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Thank you David for giving a sensible voice to a sensible issue. It is appalling that the mayor will not join Mayors Against Illegal guns. Just want to emphasize "illegal Guns" as this feels like a no brainer. As a member of NJ Residents For Action Against Gun Violence, we thank you for your common sense approach to this issue.
jeff goldstein February 21, 2013 at 03:14 PM
No one should be fooled. Bloomberg's group is against guns for anyone. The only reason it exists is because Bloomberg finances it with his billions. If people actually hear what is in their proposals they are against them. Universal background checks mean that you can't give or even lend your shotgun to your cousin without going through a licensed dealer and a lot of paperwork and fees. It can't be enforced without universal registration. Assault weapons bans forbid firearms because the way they look. Rifles designed for shooting at tin cans and squirrels that have stocks that adjust are banned because that is considered a military characteristic. Acording to a recent study the average number of shots fired by criminals in assaults with firearms is three. People should be able to decide for themselves how many cartridges they need in their firearms for self defense aganst multiple assailants. We already have too many restrictions on law abiding gun owners. Most violence with guns is inner city drug gang members shooting other gang members with a lot of innocent people caught in the crossfire. If we want to reduce it we should look at our failed war on drugs.
Ghost of Charleton Heston (Moses) February 21, 2013 at 03:53 PM
And here is our local NRA rep- Jeff Goldstein chiming in....Sure- deflect the conversation to the war on drugs...thats orirginal..
Brad Schaeffer February 21, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Is that the same Mayor Mike Bloomberg who walks the streets of New York City with five plus armed guards? It is difficult to take such initiatives seriously given the underlying hypocrisy of many of the proponents of gun control who nonetheless feel that such measures should not apply to them. If they truly believe their own p.r., and you feel so strongly about this issue that, by the way, has never been an issue in Westfield in my 15 years of residency (have we ever had any gun violence in this town??) then along with Lance should you not be writing Bloomberg and request that, in the spirit of "saying no to gun violence" he disarm his own security team, or firing off an email to Chuck Shumer and Diane Feinstein demanding they surrender their concealed/carry permits? Etc. By the way. You will never find people more willing to say no to gun violence than responsible gun owners. You do not have a monopoly on that sentiment. One's moral high ground on this issue is not measured by with whether or not they support a specific set of laws aimed at specic weaponry, so-called 'assault weapons' (yet to be defined) that cause an almost statistically non-existant loss of life in the USA. If you are truly "against gun violence" (does this imply that those who do not agree with you are therefore "in favor of gun violence"?) Then address the root causes: societal melt-down, familial disintegration, drugs, mental health issues, etc. These may be harder to legislate away.
Devilsfan February 21, 2013 at 04:35 PM
And all you anti-gunners are going to start going to pro-life rallies too? You're all a bunch of hypocrites when it come to saving lives! You all should fly out to Chicago and try to solve that cities violence problem since guns are banned there. The problem stems from the breakdown of the FAMILY and when politicans, activists and the media start addressing this issue instead of contributing to it, then a solution may be in sight. But that takes hard work and real guts!
Keith February 21, 2013 at 04:59 PM
This is a mental Health issue....period. The rest is just Liberal feel good fantasy.
Lori Bennett February 21, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Is this a fantasy? According to FBI data 43 mass shootings (more than 4 victims) have occurred b/t the 4 yr period b/t 2009-2013. Is this a fantasy? 8 children every day are killed by guns, 1 child every 3 hours Is this a fantasy? Since Newtown 2033 gun related deaths have occurred. The answer is NO these stats are not fantasy. Americans everywhere are speaking out and saying "ENOUGH is ENOUGH"!!NJ Residents for Action are saying it and and thankfully we have David Haas who is also saying it. We had hoped Mayor Skibitsky would've been smart and brave enough to agree, but he wasn't. We stood together as a grassroots organization asking for what the majority of NJ residents feel shouldn't be a political issue, but rather a public safety and common sense issue. Disappointment was what we got. My NO vote is what Mayor Skibitsky gets.
karen egert February 21, 2013 at 05:57 PM
You shotjdnt be able to " lend " your shotgun to your cousin without him going through a background check for gods sakes Isn't that what people like Lance keep saying about mental health ? I don't know your cousin or if he is capable or in the correct Mental state to handle a gun . It's not like lending him your snow shovel . My god , people make NO SENSE
jeff goldstein February 21, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Karen, you don't like my example so here is a better one. In NJ it is illegal for a father to lend a handgun to take to the range to his adult son who has a NJ firearms id card so has been investigated. The son would have to be approved through the permit to purchase a handgun process which takes one to three months but then he couldn't give the handgun back to his father. Does that make any sense?
Lori Bennett February 21, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Brad, Missing the point, Gun Violence is a real epidemic here in our county. Fortunately NJ has tough state laws, but so many states don't. 8 KIDS die every 3 hours from gun deaths - do we continue to sit back and do nothing? no instead we began a grassroots organization to make a difference. Yes we're in favor of banning assault weapons, and the The Fix Gun Checks Act would help prevent future shootings by req. the BG check system contains the records of people already prohibited by current law. BGC REFORMS do nothing to interfere with the ever-so precious, outdated 2nd Amm. b/t 40-48% of guns are sold by unlicensed. Private Sellers/gun buyers exploit vast private sale loophole by seeking out these private sellers online & at gun shows. I think we both know why unfortunately we can't state that we're going after a handgun ban, but we can certainly be effective by tackling some of these other issues, including reducing magazines capacity. Fortunately Feinstein and Co. will take care of handguns eventually - it's taken hundreds of years to abuse the outdated 2nd ammendment, it will take time to fix ALL those abuses.
Lori Bennett February 21, 2013 at 07:53 PM
first criticized for going after assault weapons, then for not going after hand guns, then for going after hand guns, your arguments are based on fear, where as mine are based on common sense, something many supporters of the 2nd amm. seem to not to possess. You will never view the number of guns in the US as a problem, not until you are personally effected by the loss of a loved one by a gun. I feel sorry for you and anyone else who actually believe you argument is valid. I know I'm trying to do anything I can to improve public safety, where as people who support the lunacy around the gun culture here in the US continue to bring more blood and sadness to this beautiful country we live in. But don't worry you're not alone in your very negative way of thinking, but your way of thinking is becoming outdated and archaic just like the 2nd ammendment. Enjoy your day and knowing you actually support a violent culture, and are part of the reason that Adam Lanza was able to access those guns - his mother believed the way you do.
ML February 21, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Brad, Any upcoming appearances on Glenn Beck's show? I did some research and found out you're like a B-list Conservative/Tea Party celebrity blogger or something. That's outstanding. But in all seriousness, I think it's time to let go of the "disarm Bloomberg" argument. He's the elected mayor of the biggest city in the country. Not to mention he isn't making many friends w/ the heavily armed pro-gun zealots since emerging at the forefront of the gun debate following Sandy Hook. He's a public official who's obviously enough of a target to warrant protection. As far as local gun violence, I'm a little disappointed in your knowledge of Westfield history. There was a doozy some time back. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_List I also think a boyfriend killed his girlfriend like 10 years ago - don't hold me to that one being a gun murder though.
Keith February 21, 2013 at 08:34 PM
@LKB...stop, drop and roll....your hair is on fire
Brad Schaeffer February 21, 2013 at 08:38 PM
I'll go on Pierce Morgan, Glenn Beck, CNBC, anyone who will hold up my book and get get a spike on Amazon. I have also appeard with such die hard conservatives as Alan Colmes, Juan Williams, the late Ed Koch, etc. It's called marketing and an exchange of ideas.. I stand by everything I said on Beck's show because my argument was rooted in demographics and the false promise of the welfare state...and if you notice, I dissed him when started to go with his "worldwide conspiracy" shtick. Of course, anyone taking swipes at someone from behind the bushes of anonymity is worthy of no more attention than this. (I may disagree with my good neighbor Mr. Slater on this issue, but I most certainly respect that he is not hiding behind a pseudonym. It's called courage of your convictions. You should try it sometime.) p.s. I've never been to a Tea Party rally and, although I agree with their concerns, in fact, have written articles lambasting them for hypocrisy...but I guess you didn't do THAT much research eh? Whomever you are brave fellow. Brave "ML" As to Bloomberg and his "do as I say not as I do" model of nanny statism, I would think if guns are not the answer then that applies to elected heads of government (last time I checked Bloomberg asked to be mayor did he not?) Unless you think there are government officials and then there are the rest of us. I supposed he should be exempt from his Big Gulp ban because as mayor he needs more energy than we proles too?
Brad Schaeffer February 21, 2013 at 08:45 PM
And to reach ALLLLL The way back to the List murders which happened right around when I was in pre-school and a 26-year-old Pete Townshend was writing Baba O'Reilly proves my point don't you think? Although I wasn't aware he killed them with an "assault weapon". I always thought he used pistols. Now care to go back to the respectful discussion such a sublime topic with sincere people and legitimate points on both sides deserves? Or is sniping from the weeds behind "ML" your style. If so I think we're done here. At least I am with you. Feel free to snipe away. I guess if you lay down with dogs you get some fleas. *Sigh*
9mm February 21, 2013 at 09:28 PM
@BRAD SCHAEFFER Umm Brad, those armed guards are cops, they are lawfully allowed to walk the streets with Mayor Bloomberg armed. They are assigned to him by the NYPD just like Cory Booker, Chris Christie and any other politician in a high profile job.
ML February 21, 2013 at 10:17 PM
@Brad, Well, those are my initials, so I'm not TOOOOTALLLLY hiding in anonymity. Too many borderline personality disorders milling around this forum to acknowledge more though. And I'm not plugging my latest column or book so I really have nothing to gain. But if you're willing to contend that everyone posting hateful rants on here anonymously is a coward, that's good enough for me. See you around town, Happy Jack.
Brad Schaeffer February 21, 2013 at 11:06 PM
9mm. Why does it matter what they are? So they are cops. Great, so not only does Bloomberg feel entitled to a weaponry that the rest of his subjects are not allowed, he asks those same peasants to pay for them. Understandable. City is only $800mm in the red -- but Bloomberg has no money. The point is that they are still armed men following a lord who feels that his subjects do not deserve the right to arm themselves. You know, there is no law that says these people must run for public office.
Brad Schaeffer February 21, 2013 at 11:18 PM
@ML. I stand corrected...you hide behind initials. Still brave. And I have no clue if I'll see you around town. You won't tell me who you are, remember? I may be standing right next to you at Panera's and will have no clue. What a lost opportunity to debate this matter about which you have such strong opinions...so long as you need not attach your name to any of them. If you want to stay out of the limelight, shoot me an email. We can chat in private. Will be an interesting discussion. That's public too after all...as I'm sure your search revealed. I look forward to hearing from you. (I'll be waiting a long time won't I?) You're right about the nutjob contingency on the net. But it's no different than in life really. Just a different medium. Although I do notice that people tend to have the rhetorical equivalent of "beer muscles" when they know they can post anonymously. But to me they have no credibility either so it's a wash. Don't you agree? Even Ms. Egert and others, though I disagree with them, have the integrity and courage of their convictions to put their names to their opinions...the only opinions worth paying attention to in my humble, transparent, opinion. I respect that more than they know I think. Anyway, as they say, "when in Rome" so to you: BPS signing off.
Lori Bennett February 22, 2013 at 02:27 PM
David Haas for Mayor!!
Melissa Cross March 21, 2013 at 02:54 AM
If guns were a serious issue in Westfield, David Haas may have my vote. However, issues like taxes, traffic, economic development, recreation, and education are what matter to me at the local level and those are real issues that our local politicians can work on. While I may agree with Mr. Haas ideologically on some issues, Mr. Skibitsky has done nothing but work tirelessly for this town and with great results. That is why he will have my vote when November comes around.
Proud South Sider April 15, 2013 at 02:46 AM
The mayor has worked hard for Westfield. However, who is to say that Westfield is immune from the violence that took place in Newtown and Sandy Hook? I am curious to know Mr. Skibitsky's position on gun regulation and the NRA.
c April 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM
As you all may know, the Senate voted down the first group of anti-constitution, people control bills yesterday, including the illegal gun registration scheme posing as the Trojan Horse called the Expanded Background Check. The "assault" gun ban failed also likely because there is no such thing. These devious people tried to make the MSR or modern sporting rifle, which is among the most popular rifle sold today, illegal, but failed. Bloomberg is pissed. His money can' counteract the millions of legal gun owners and the representatives in the Senate agree. This is a mandate.
c August 17, 2013 at 06:09 AM
On Friday, Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a trio of anti-gun bills after nearly seven months of contentious public debate. Misguided anti-gun state lawmakers introduced more than 80 anti-gun bills at the beginning of the year. By this summer, more than a dozen bills cleared both legislative chambers and were sent to the Governor for his consideration and action. Earlier this month, Governor Christie signed ten of those gun bills into law, but he left three deeply flawed bills without action. Of all the legislation introduced, the three bills vetoed today were the most egregious. S.2723, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-03), was the “centerpiece” bill of the gun control package. This bill received a conditional veto, meaning that the bill is dead unless the state Legislature convenes and readopts this bill in a form that meets the Governor’s approval. The state Legislature can also override this veto with a two-thirds vote. That prospect is very unlikely given the current composition of the state Legislature. The veto message specifically cites sections of this bill which were not acceptable. Specifically, the Governor scratched the portions requiring mandatory training for firearm ownership and the section that would have banned private transactions. Governor Christie also struck a component of this bill which would have encoded permit holder information on a new ID card, such as a driver’s license. A.3659, sponsored by Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-18), was vetoed in its entirety. If enacted into law, this bill would have banned .50 caliber firearms. The NRA argued in public testimony that these firearms are used by competitive shooters and collectors, and are not misused in crime. Governor Christie agreed. A.3797, sponsored by Assemblymen Charles Mainor (D-31) and Tim Eustace (D-38), received a conditional veto. If enacted, this bill would have required the State Police to issue reports on gun trace data, which is clearly a violation of federal law. NRA members and other sensible people, including numerous new gun owners did a tremendous job contacting state legislators and the Governor. Although anti-gun lawmakers ignored constituent messages and in some cases severely restricted public testimony, gun owners prevailed today as the Governor made the right decision on the three most consequential bills. The NRA-ILA will continue to work actively against anti-gun bills and push for legislation that corrects many of the flaws in current law in the future. Please contact Governor Chris Christie and thank him for striking down these three gun control bills. You can contact the Governor at 609-292-6000, or send an email using the online contact form.


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