Officials and activists alike rallied behind U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) this morning during a rally for “common sense gun reforms.”
At a press conference at the Historic Essex County Courthouse in Newark, dozens gathered in support of two measures that will be heard in the U.S. Senate today: one that would ban anyone on the no fly list from purchasing firearms and another that would require universal background checks to buy guns.
Kicking off the presser, Menendez scoffed at the notion that the NRA and gun manufacturers have the advantage in this issue.
The senior Senator added that regardless of the political consequences of the NRA, he hopes that his colleagues in the Senate â€œwill finally vote with their conscience.â€
He also said that he doesnâ€™t believe that semi-automatic weapons, commonly referred to as â€œstreet sweepers,â€ are about hunting or protection – which is why he voted for the assault weapons ban.
Booker emphasized that gun violence occurs everyday in urban cities throughout the state, taking over 400,000 lives since 9/11.
Menendez and Booker have been pushing the issue ever since the Orlando massacre last week, after over 100 people were killed or injured in a gay nightclub early last Sunday morning.
Recalling how painful it is every time his phone goes off to inform him of another shooting in Newark, as well as the fact that gun reforms have not occurred after other recent national tragedies, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) said getting tough on gun violence is long overdue.
His colleague, Congressman Albio Sires, went after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for claiming Democrats are trying to take way the Second Amendment.
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, gun and LGBT activists, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura – who said over 300 illegal guns have been seized in Newark this year – and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari also spoke at the event.
While he was not present at the event, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop also recently voiced his support for the new gun reform legislation.
A call to the NRAâ€™s Public Affairs Office was not returned this afternoon.