Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
At the May 17, 2018, Mayor & Council meeting, Mayor Carl Hokanson proclaimed June 1st as Gun Violence Awareness Day in Roselle Park.
“Gun violence . . . is a very big topic today,” said Mayor Hokanson during the presentation three weeks ago. The mayor who has taken part in Mayors Against Illegal Guns since taking office as the head of the borough in 2015, continued, “I have been privileged for the three years that I was able to sign the proclamation to join up. Every time I get dressed up with a suit I wear my pin. I’ve been to a few rallies. It’s something that we need to address very seriously.”
The mayor read the proclamation which highlights that – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – on an average day 96 Americans are killed by gun violence and there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides (a little less than the population of Roselle Park) each year.
Mayor Hokanson added that the governing body will be wearing orange at council meetings during June and that the lights in front of the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library will also be orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Month. He said, “We are aware of it, and we support it 100%.”
In attendance for Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America was former Roselle Park resident Patti Wilson-Fico. Speaking on behalf of the organization she stated, “Numbers are staggering. Since 2014 . . . 62,169 people have been shot and killed in the United States of America. 121,643 have been injured and that includes 15,300 children. This is not an issue of [the] Second Amendment. We support the Second Amendment. People should have the right to defend themselves but this is an epidemic in this country. And to have mayors and town councils and cities and states across the country acknowledging that this is an epidemic is crucial because we need to come together to figure out how to end this and I really appreciate that you signed this and I’m proud to be a Roselle Park alum.”
For the sake of accuracy, 534 more Americans have been killed by a firearm since that May 17th meeting. In the span of three weeks, 1,213 more Americans have been injured as a result of gun violence. The figures listed do not include the average 22,000 annual gun deaths by suicide.
“Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” was started in 2012. Two years later, “Everytown In America” (link) joined Moms Demand Action with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which was started in 2006. Both organizations advocate to “end gun violence in America” with measures such as more stringent background checks and weapon training as well as supporting stricter gun trafficking laws and advocating to keep firearms out of the hands of those convicted of domestic abuse. Both “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” and “Everytown In America” were founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.