The Bernards Township Democratic Committee hosted a recent free public forum focusing on Gun Violence and Children’s Safety at the Bernards Township Library with the need for careful background checks reportedly an area of agreement among multiple speakers.
The Feb. 11 meeting was an informative discussion with members of the community from both sides of the issue, according to David Ferdinand, chairman of the Bernards Democratic Committee. Topics included gun regulations as now practiced by our local law enforcement, community safety, mental health issues, and proposed gun control legislation.
“The need for a reasoned, adult conversation about gun violence has never been greater in this country,” Ferdinand said. “It is our hope that by coming together as a community to respectfully and responsibly discuss tough issues like this, we can influence our elected leaders to follow suit.”
Bernards Township Police Chief Brian Bobowicz attended the session, and answered many questions about background checks and licensing procedures for guns, said Greg Schaefer, assistant director of the Bernards Democratic organization.
Schaefer said about 30 people attended the forum, both from Basking Ridge and other surrounding communities in the Somerset Hills.
The event opened with Ferdinand outlining the many facets of the gun violence issue. Noting the string of mass shootings and jarring gun violence statistics in the U.S. over the past few decades, According to Ferdinand, "The time had come for a conversation about guns and how to curb the seemingly endless violence in our nation."
Schaefer said he conducted a live internet “fact check” featuring projection screens was used throughout the meeting to ensure accuracy and responsibility during the discussion.
Ferdinand then opened the floor for questions and comments. Diverse topics ranging from concerns about gun registration procedures, to safety in schools, to crime in the community were discussed in depth, he said.
Schaefer said Bobowicz also gave an overview on precautions and protocols for security at local schools, without revealing all details.
The group also shared an educational video produced by Homeland Security entitled “Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter Event” which outlined proper techniques for surviving a mass shooting. The video has been shown to Bernards Township Employees and can be found on YouTube.
The meeting closed with a video of the testimony of David Wheeler, whose son Ben, was killed in the Sandy Hook Massacre. The clip encapsulated the desperate need for immediate action on the issue, Ferdinand said. He said the clip was on MSNbc.com.
Monday was the regular February Meeting of the Bernards Township Democrats. The next meeting is scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., March 13 at the Bernards Township Library, and will focus on JCP&L and the power issues in Bernards Township.
"We are looking to do more of this and not avoid the controversial or big issues," Schaefer said this week.
As always, the next event is free and open to the public, Ferdinand said. Those with questions or who would like to RSVP can email David Ferdinand at email@example.com.