NEWARK, NJ – During a special presentation on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed June 2, 2018, as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” in Essex County.  The presentation took place at the Hall of Records in Newark, New Jersey.

District 4 Freeholder Leonard Luciano along with At-Large Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill of Montclair offered remarks, thanking the Essex County Charter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for their vigilance in bringing awareness and common sense solutions to issues surrounding gun violence.  

Each year, 32,000 people in the United States are killed, and 80,000 are injured by gunfire; 11,000 people in the United States are killed in homicides involving firearms; and 21,000 people in the United States commit suicide by using firearms. Furthermore, 500 people are killed in accidental shootings.

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Since 1968, more people in the United States have died from guns domestically than have died on the battlefields of all the wars in United States history.  And, according to data from Gun Violence Archive, there were 346 mass shootings, which describes incidents where four or more individuals were shot or killed in the same general time and location, in the United States in 2017. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows New Jersey had 485 firearm deaths in 2016. Also, in light of the many tragedies involving gun violence in recent days nationally, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders declares that protecting the safety of residents is its highest responsibility and designates June 2, 2018 as Gun Violence Awareness Day in Essex County, in remembrance of the victims of gun violence. 

During National Gun Violence Awareness Day (June 2, 2018), supporters wear the color Orange in honor of Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15, just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. Since then, Orange is worn to raise awareness about gun violence.

In 2015, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders wrote legislation initiated by President Gill, supporting common sense gun violence solutions and passed an Ordinance dictating vendors of rifles, handguns and ammunition doing business with Essex County MUST answer certain questions first. Although small, these measures may ensure long-term health, safety and public welfare; and possibly decrease the appalling statistics of Americans killed by gun violence daily.

The Essex County Commendation was presented to Essex County local advocates Toral Patel, Deborah Gordon and Co-Lead of the Essex County Charter Christine McGrath, who wore t-shirts bearing the organization’s name, “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.”