The most memorable – and moving -- part of President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this month came near the end, when he made an impassioned plea for Congress to act on common-sense gun safety proposals.
Referring to the families and friends of victims, as well as thousands of gun violence victims themselves, he told assembled legislators: they deserve a vote!
And while they haven’t yet received a vote in Washington DC, they got one today in Trenton, NJ. Showing courage and leadership, along with a determination to fight for the safety of our children and communities, the Democratic-controlled Assembly passed a raft of gun safety legislation, dealing with everything from weapon-free zones around schools and other public areas to prohibiting the investment of state pension funds in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault weapons for civilian use.
When it comes to our children, they deserve more than just a vote. They deserve the Governor’s signature too.
About half the bills passed with strong bipartisan support. The remainder passed on close to party-line votes, with Democrats largely in support.
NJEA issued a formal position statement on several of the bills dealing most directly with school employees and student safety. And we are working with a coalition headed by Ceasefire NJ that is advocating for smart gun safety legislation to protect children and make our communities safer.
Legislation isn’t the whole solution to the plague of gun violence, but it’s a necessary component of a comprehensive plan to ensure that our schools, streets and homes are safer.
That’s why we congratulate the Assembly for its bold leadership on this issue. Now call on the Senate to follow suit. Pass these bills and put them on Gov. Christie’s desk. Because when it comes to our children, they deserve more than just a vote. They deserve the Governor’s signature too.