No Consensus for Chatham Township Committee on Gun Safety Letter Drafted by Committee Member Mike Kelly

Chatham Township Committee member Mike Kelly drafted a letter on gun safety that he hoped all committee members would sign and send to elected officials Credits: TAP Chatham
The Chatham Township Committee discussed a gun safety letter, but could not reach a consensus on what the letter should say on behalf of the committee Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - While the Borough of Chatham Council unanimously approved a resolution urging the enactment of gun safety measures on Monday night, the Chatham Township Committee could not come to a consensus when it met and discussed a letter written by committee member Mike Kelly, which was presented last Thursday.

Unlike the borough resolution, which was originally drafted by council president Len Resto and then edited and rewritten with input from Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris, and council members Bob Weber, Thad Kobylarz and Peter Hoffman, Kelly's letter was only reviewed by the township committee before the meeting.

Kelly's letter had nine items (see below) and he asked that the mayor and committee sign it and send it along. After the discussion did not reach a consensus agreement, Kelly has indicated that he will be editing the letter and sending it as an individual member of the committee.

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Mike Kelly drafted a letter to Rodney Frelinghuysen, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez that he asked fellow committee members to sign asking for gun safety measures to be enacted

Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter urged individuals to write their own letters and send them to their elected officials

The majority of Kelly's letter can be read below.

The public perspective on gun safety is changing. People do not want a life-and-death issue like gun safety treated in a partisan manner. The voters want their elected leaders, regardless of party, to adopt sensible and substantial gun safety measures. We add the weight of our voices as local elected officials to those who are looking to you in Congress to adopt such measures as:

  • Universal background checks on the sale of all firearms.
  • A permanent end to the sale of assault-style weapons, large capacity magazines, and any accessories such as bump stocks that increase the rate of fire.
  • A prohibition on the manufacture, sale or possession of ammunition capable of piercing body armor.
  • A prohibition on the sale of any firearm to anyone under age 21.
  • A prohibition on the sale of any firearm to anyone on the terror watch
    list or under investigation for a violent crime, including domestic
  • Authority for local police to temporarily remove firearms from anyone they judge to be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Federal funding for research into further evidence-based public health approaches to reducing gun violence.
  • Additional funding for mental health services and school safety.
  • A requirement for manufacturers to develop smart gun technology.

We understand that any action on gun safety has historically been extremely controversial, with Congress often caught between entrenched parties. In this adversarial environment, it is difficult for anything of substance to be accomplished.

The purpose of this letter is to share our observation that the public is demanding leadership from its elected representatives on the issue of gun safety, They expect sensible, significant action; will support those elected officials who deliver, and will actively oppose those who do not.

We ask that you do everything you can to make us all safer from gun violence.

Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz declined to be part of a group letter

Kevin Sullivan gives his reasons for not supporting a letter signed by committee members

Maureen Kelly, Chatham Township resident, and wife of committee member Mike Kelly, urged the committee to take the opportunity to deliver a unified message


Mike Kelly wanted to pare down the list and reach an agreed consensus on things like universal background checks


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