Tomorrow evening, BlueWaveNJ, in an effort to spur additional advocacy for stricter gun laws in New Jersey, is hosting “The State of Gun Safety & Violence Prevention in 2013: An Education Forum & Advocacy Training Program” at the United Way, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Topics will include an update on current legislation under consideration at the federal and state level; what constructive actions citizens can take to move the debate forward; and how to get citizen-driven momentum started in your community.
Locally, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (formerly known as One Million Moms for Gun Control) has also been active, encouraging citizen advocacy and supporting local, state, and national initiatives. Several area families and elected officials have also been vocal in their support of stronger gun policies at events organized or supported by BlueWaveNJ.
BlueWaveNJ’s goal is to help residents understand “the issues surrounding the epidemic of gun violence in America. Speakers will address how we got here, what we can do now to shape and pass legislation, and how we can each become more effective advocates in the fight to eliminate the incidences of tragic and unnecessary violence in our communities and nation.”
The panelists for the event include Flemington residents Michael and Teresa Pohle, who lost their son Michael Jr. during the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and have since become vocal advocates for efforts to reduce gun violence. They’ll address implementing stronger gun laws and limiting access to dangerous weapons, and partnering with the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (M.A.I.G) and the New Jersey Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence.
Also on hand will be Jim Johnson, who served in the Treasury Department with the Clinton Administration, was formerly an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Treasury Under Secretary for Enforcement; a position in which he oversaw the operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), Secret Service, the US Customs Service, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. In that role, he was on the ground in Columbine in 1999 and will discuss lessons learned from his experience fighting for new gun safety legislation in the 1990s.
The third panelist, Robert V. Tessaro, is the President of Safe School Technologies, and a recognized expert on youth violence prevention. He recently participated in a private meeting with Pres. Obama to discuss gun violence among our nation’s youth, and has served as the National Law Enforcement Director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, working with leaders in law enforcement and Congress to fight for common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence. Tessaro was also National Membership Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, and Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers, where he helped to train all school based police officers in NJ.
The Forum is free & open to the public, though advance reservations are requested via the event’s web page or by contacting BlueWaveNJ at 201-306-4016 or emailing email@example.com.
The United Way is located at at 60 S. Fullerton St, Montclair (next to the Montclair Public Library). Use side entrance to first floor auditorium; parking available in rear.
BWNJ is a grassroots organization working to protect and improve the rights, opportunities, and quality of life of all people through direct advocacy, public education on critical issues, and community mobilization.