I recently attended a meeting hosted by the Jewish Federation for Monmouth
County and the Office of Homeland Security that addressed the alarming number of school shootings in America. There
have been 44 school shootings since the December 2012 Newtown tragedy; 13 of
those shootings have already happened in 2014.

The auditorium was filled with uniformed and decorated law enforcement and
leaders of the faith community gathered to listen to the speaker, a first
responder at a schoolhouse shooting in Lancaster, PA. The discussion included
preparation and medical response, and the speaker broke into tears as he
described the crime scene and the emotional and mental impact a school shooting
has on first responders as well as families and communities.

As a parent and a Monmouth County resident, I was glad to see our brave law
enforcement community and faith community taking proactive steps for the safety
of our children. However, as our law enforcement and faith communities prepare
to respond to the possibility of a school shooting incident, what are we doing
as parents to prevent an incident from happening?

One step parents can take in the safety of our children is to contact our
Congressmen and ask them to support Expanded Background Checks on a National
level. These would help keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally
ill, rapists, domestic abusers, felons as well as terrorists.  We need Congress
to support and pass the bi-partisan Toomey - Manchin Bill (HR1565) to establish
a stronger national system of background checks.  NJ already has a strong
background check system in place, and passing HR1565 would not additionally
impact NJ gun owners, but it will reduce the amount of illegal guns that are
trafficked into our state.

NJ is currently the # 1 importer of illegal guns in the USA.  Criminals and
those who would sell to them, go to other states with weaker laws to get guns.
This undermines NJs sensible gun laws.  HR1565 requires closing the internet and
gun show loopholes which allow buyers and sellers to take advantage of blurred
guidelines; up to 40% of guns are sold without any ID requirement, and felons
have admitted to sourcing weapons in this way.

The support and implementation of HR1565 is an important first step in combating
the epidemic of gun violence in America; it is a "no brainer" and all of New
Jersey’s Congressmen should support it.

As parents and grandparents, we must do our part as "first responders" for the
safety of our children. I urge Monmouth residents and all concerned New
Jerseyans to contact their Congressmen and ask them to support HR1565 for
expanded background checks in the USA.
Call Congressman Chris Smith and tell him it is time to co-sponsor HR1565 and keep our children safe.  Smith's Freehold office 732-730-3035. 


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