HOBOKEN, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez stood today with victims of gun violence, students and advocates on the steps of Hoboken City Hall for a rally in support of commonsense gun safety. Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla declared June 1 “Gun Violence Awareness Day” in Hoboken as part of a National Gun Violence Awareness Day event organized by the Hudson County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.
“To the students here today, I hear you loud and clear,” said Sen. Bob Menendez. “You are tired of practicing active shooter drills; tired of hearing that gun violence is just a fact of life; tired of seeing the NRA make the decisions in Washington about guns and our safety. And as your senator, I know you deserve better. That means passing commonsense gun laws that will keep weapons of war off our streets and guns out of the hands of children, criminals and others with mental illness. We need to keep up the fight, keep marching, organizing, speaking out – and voting – until we have a Congress that will stand up to the NRA and take action.”
Sen. Menendez has been one of the leading voices in Congress for commonsense gun safety. He condemned the May 18 fatal shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, calling on Congress to pass commonsense gun safety reforms to ensure no other high school has to endure such tragedy, and holding accountable those who fail to act.
“I’m honored to lend my voice to such an important issue,” Mayor Bhalla said. “It’s our duty to do everything within our power to protect our children and residents from gun violence. New Jersey is taking steps in the right direction, but with how easily guns cross state lines, we have to keep up the pressure on Congress to enact sweeping reforms. I'm proud New Jersey’s Senators are on the right side of this issue, but we must keep up the fight against the gun lobby.”
Sen. Menendez and Mayor Bhalla were joined at the rally by Councilwoman Emily Jabbour, a member of the Hudson County Chapter of Moms Demand Action; survivors Kristina Filler of the Hold Your Fire Initiative, Nora Martinez DeBenedetto and Rey Sambal; Frances Michaels and Jai Patel of Students Demand Action of Hudson County; and Jersey City Councilman James Solomon, who read a proclamation from the City of Jersey City.
The senator met last month with members from the South Jersey Chapter of Moms Demand Action, who delivered postcards from its members voicing their opposition to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House late last year. The bill would force each state to recognize the concealed carry standards from every other state, even those that have weaker standards. New Jersey has one of the strictest gun laws in the country, making it difficult for a civilian to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
In April, Sen. Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) participated in a “Town Hall for Our Lives”, hosted by Students Demand Action of Bergen County. The event, which was one of more than 120 town halls held across the country, was a national effort urging lawmakers to pass commonsense gun legislation.
In March, Sen. Menendez visited the Essex County Police Academy with Sheriff Armando Fontoura to witness firsthand the power of an AR-15 assault rifle during a live-fire demonstration by the sheriff’s officers. The military-style weapon was used in serveral mass shootings, including by the gunman who took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
That same month, Sen. Menendez joined several colleagues on the Senate Floor to demand action on common sense gun safety legislation. During his speech, the senator noted several private companies that have taken action since the Parkland shooting, notably: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart announcing it would no longer sell firearms to people under 21; Dick’s halting sales of assault rifles, like the AR-15; and companies, such as United Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have discontinued benefit programs for National Rifle Association (NRA) members.
Sen. Menendez stood with survivors of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting at a Feb. 25 rally in Livingston, N.J., calling for passage of common sense gun safety measures. He was joined by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Harris Jaffe, siblings David and Lauren Hogg, and brothers Ryan and Matthew Deitsch.
Sen. Menendez is the prime sponsor of the Keep Americans Safe Act, common sense public safety legislation banning the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition and are designed for shooting en masse.
Sen. Menendez, who voted for the original Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 as a member of the House of Representatives, has cosponsored legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban. He has also sponsored legislation to expand background checks and close the gun show loophole, outlaw “bump stocks” and other devices that make semiautomatic weapons fully automatic, prevent those on the Terror Watch List from purchasing guns, and improve access to mental health and addiction treatment.
In February, Sen. Menendez joined a group of senators in demanding answers after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to record court-martials or criminal convictions of servicemembers into the FBI’s background check database. The senator opposes arming school teachers and supports the rights of states to pass their own gun laws restricting concealed carry permits. He also participated in the 2016 Democratic filibuster for common sense gun safety on the Senate Floor and joined his House colleagues in a sit-in on the House Floor.