Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and South Orange Trustee Deborah Davis Ford were two of several New Jersey leaders who participated in a symbolic sit-in in the Newark office of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. Friday, to bring attention to gun control.
The sit-in was intended to build on the momentum from last week’s historic sit-in by House Democrats, including Payne, to demand that Republican leaders hold a vote on common-sense gun safety legislation, according to a press release from Payne’s office.
DeLuca and Davis Ford have each been strong advocates for tighter gun control laws. DeLuca is an active member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns; at the recent vigil for victims of the Orlando massacre, he took Congress to task for its refusal to ban assault weapons. Davis Ford recently spoke passionately about the issue at a Board of Trustees meeting.
“I was happy to join other mayors and elected officials from Essex and Union Counties in the symbolic sit-in with Rep. Payne,” said DeLuca in an email. “We discussed our resolve locally to put pressure on the New Jersey Congressional delegation to vote for common sense gun laws. We not only talked about the horrific killings in Orlando but also the hundreds of New Jersey residents who are murdered each year by those committing crimes with illegal guns. It is time to say enough and take the challenge directly to the NRA, which is tone deaf to popular sentiment in this country.”
Davis Ford said, “I participated in Congressman Payne’s sit-in for gun control because I’m weary….tired of the daily loss of life from gun violence. I support my congressman’s initiative for action regarding gun control.”
Here is the full press release:
Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) held a symbolic sit-in in his Newark office with constituents to discuss gun violence and call on House Republicans to hold a vote on bipartisan legislation to address the epidemic.
The symbolic sit-in built on the momentum from last week’s historic sit-in by House Democrats, including Congressman Payne, Jr., to demand Republican leaders hold a vote on common-sense gun safety legislation.
“Today our community came together to demand action on gun violence prevention, to demand a vote on widely supported, bipartisan legislation,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “What we want—what communities across America want—is an end to the killing, an end to the inaction, an end to the excuses. We are resolved to win this fight.”
The symbolic sit-in came after House Democrats held a 26-hour sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, to demand that Speaker Paul Ryan allow a vote on two pieces of bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation. One is bipartisan legislation to expand and strengthen the background check system. The other is a bipartisan “No Fly, No Buy” bill to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. House Republicans have voted 14 times to block consideration of the bipartisan “No Fly, No Buy” legislation.
“Our laws should keep guns out of the wrong hands, not make it easier for dangerous individuals to get weapons,” added Congressman Payne, Jr. “Our constituents deserve a vote on background checks, they deserve a vote on banning individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns, and we’re not going to stop fighting until we get a meaningful vote.”
This week, House Democrats, community advocates, and families across the country are holding events to demand that Republicans in Congress act on bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation.
New Jersey leaders who participated in the symbolic sit-in included: Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss; Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca; Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson; New Jersey Assemblyman Jamel Holley; Essex Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake; Essex Freeholder Clerk Deborah Davis-Ford; East Orange City Council Chairman Ted Green; East Orange Councilman Casim Gomez; Newark Councilman at Large Luis Quintana; Newark Councilman at Large Eddie Osborne; Linden Councilwoman Rhashonna Cosby-Hurling; and Roselle Park Councilwoman at Large Charlene Storey.