Residents lit candles on Church Street yesterday for those killed in the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and called for stricter gun regulation in America.
Nearly 100 residents gathered on Church Street at the six corners yesterday to mourn the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week.
The gathering was both a vigil and rally. Candles glowed in the hands of residents in cold winter night to remember the dead. Many others also held signs with bold letters saying, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” and called on their representatives at the state and federal level to put in place stricter gun laws.
“We have to be stronger than the [National Rifle Association], and push them out of the way,” said Co-chair of the North Jersey Chapter of Ceasefire NJ Dorothy McGann over the loud speaker to the crowd.
“If we demand change, we will get change,” said Marcia Marley, organizer of the vigil and president of BlueWave New Jersey. “We don’t want another tragedy before we’ve done something.”
Marley added that while previous initiatives for gun control have fallen short, she was optimistic because she is seeing more popular support than in the past.
“I am hopeful,” said Marley. “Just because it hasn’t worked before doesn’t mean we should stop trying. This is the right thing to do, and I’ve never seen such interest.”
Freehold Brendan Gill said he was committed to relaying the crowd's message to the county level and beyond.
“Healing is important, but so is action,” said Gill. “We cannot wait.”
BlueWave NJ was calling on residents to talk to their representatives and support the following:
- A ban on automatic and semiautomatic assault weapons
- A ban high capacity ammunition magazines
- Stricter background checks when buying a gun
- Making gun trafficking a federal crime
On the Local Level
The mass shooting in Connecticut has convinced Montclair to launch a gun buy-back program in an effort to minimize violence within its own borders.
Anonymous donors have committed $10,000 to buy back weapons. In addition, the township will match every dollar dolled out for guns to go toward supporting the families in Newtown, Conn.
“Your local government is doing something,” said Mayor Robert Jackson at the vigil on Thursday.
“We need to fight that fight here in Montclair and in New Jersey and the United States. ... We are taking concrete steps to get rid of weapons and to put much needed financial help in the hands of the people of Newtown.”
The date of the buy-back program has yet to be set.