Guns & Gun Safety Topic April 27 at Unitarian Church

A dedicated wild game hunter will join with an expert on preventing gun violence among youth in a program on understanding guns and firearm safety at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at The Unitarian Church in Summit, 4 Waldron Ave. (at Springfield Ave.) in Summit.

The session is free and open to the public. It is part of a Sunday afternoon series on the topic of gun-violence prevention and will be followed by a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served.

The speakers are George Faison, a member of the Summit Unitarian congregation and a passionate hunter, and Robert V. Tessaro, former director of law enforcement relations of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.  Tessaro's presentation, Guns 101, will give a basic understanding of how firearms work, common terminology, and important gun violence statistics.

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A hunting enthusiast, George Faison, grew up in Texas, where he says he learned to honor nature through scouting and hunting trips with his father. With his two Brittany spaniels, he continues to hunt in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area but insists there are ethical requirements for gun ownership: to handle guns in a safe and responsible manner and be expert in their usage so as to minimize pain to the animals he shoots. He strongly supports hunter-safety courses, required by many states before a hunting license is issued.

Faison is a partner in DeBragga, a specialty butcher that supplies high quality meats to some of New York’s four-star restaurants. The company specializes in beef and pork from humanely raised animals never fed hormones, antibiotics or protein supplements.

New Jersey native Robert V. Tessaro is the founder and President of Safe School Technologies (www.safeschooltech.com), a Fort Lee-based company that helps school districts protect students from bullying by utilizing the latest technology and innovations. While at the Brady Center, he worked with leading law enforcement executives and members of Congress to support common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence. 

A recognized expert on youth violence prevention, he has served as national membership director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and as executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers (NJASRO). While with NJASRO, he worked to support the passage of New Jersey's Safe School Resource Officer Law and served on the Attorney General’s Police Training Commission Curriculum Committee.

The Unitarian Church in Summit invites these speakers to educate both the congregation and the public about preventing gun violence, prior to a congregational vote in June on taking a public stand on this issue. 

The third session, on May 18, will address the topic “Legislation on Firearms Safety, Then & Now, Federal & State.” Speakers will be Nicola Bocour, director of Ceasefire NJ, a project of the Coalition for Peace Action, and Diane Finn, liaison for the prevention of gun violence for the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey (UULMNJ).

Finn will address ways that congregations can take action to prevent gun violence. The UULMNJ is a joint ministry of New Jersey’s UU congregations aiming to provide a comprehensive structure for non-partisan activism.

The Unitarian Church in Summit draws members from various religious and cultural backgrounds who join together in their individual quests for truth and meaning.  Its mission is to be a radically inclusive religious community that feeds the human spirit and heals the world. There is no creed or test of membership, but the community is bound together by principles, shared values and a desire to serve. We are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.           

For further information about the lectures, email to PreventGunViolence2013@gmail.com.

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