UNION COUNTY, NJ - Triggered by the Parkland High school shooting in Florida this past February, New Jersey high school students and public officials, including members of Governor Murphy’s administration, gathered together at Kean Universities roundtable to discuss the ongoing gun violence issue in their communities and in the United States.

The event was hosted by the Lesniak Institute for American Leadership, an organization which develops the next generation of American leaders and partners with grassroots leaders from across the country to advocate for social justice. 

Students from all over New Jersey were given the opportunity to voice their opinions, share their stories and vent their concerns.

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Steven Goldstein, Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Lesniak Institute for American Leadership, initiated the conversation by asking students how many of them had witnessed gun violence first hand. Nine out of the 23 students in the room put their hands up, he then followed with “How many of you know someone who has been killed by a gun?” this time 13 out of the 23 students put their hands up. 

As the discussion went on, leader of the Moms Demand Action, Brett Sabo joined the conversation by sharing her opinion on the differences between an NRA member and an NRA leader.

“It is the NRA leadership and the gun lobbying that is fueling debates like this, where we get off topic about what’s killing 93 people a day and we are here debating whether we like our teacher and if we trust our teachers,” said Sabo.

The Lesniak Institute for American Leadership will be hosting another event on Tuesday, June 12, at Kean University. This day marks the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting at PULSE in Orlando, that killed 49 and injured 58 others.

Note:  Daniela Gonzalez is reporting this story as part of the journalism program at Kean University.

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