PATERSON, NJ- Just hours after bullets took the lives of two local residents, and left one more critically injured, and following a weekend which saw a total of nine people suffering from gunshot wounds across the city, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez visited Paterson City Hall on Monday to speak out against against the potential confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court based on his “dangerous views on the Second Amendment.
Kavanaugh, currently a federal judge, was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy earlier this year.
Citing his 26 years in the U.S. Congress where “he has fought to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, criminals, suspected terrorists, and people who pose a threat to themselves and others,” Menendez urged all Americans to join him in speaking out against Kavanaugh, whom he said has “spilled a lot of ink” protecting the pro-gun interests like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and manufacturers.
“If Brett Kavanaugh joins the Supreme Court, the gun industry will have new ammunition in their war to overturn common sense gun safety laws aimed at protecting our children, keeping our streets safe, and stopping deadly firearms from falling into the wrong hands,” Menendez said as representatives from several groups fighting to reduce gun violence, including the Giffords Law Center, Everytown, and the Brady Campaign, looked on.
Introducing Menendez was Mayor Andre Sayegh who, after invoking the memories of Genesis Rincon, Nazerah Bugg, and Armoni Sexton, three Paterson youth who lost their lives to gun violence in less than a year, lamented that although guns haven’t been manufactured in the the once industrial powerhouse for years, “they make their way into our city.”
Saying he is afraid that if Kavanaugh is approved their will be “a further proliferation of guns” in Paterson, and that local officials have done their work to take illegal guns off the streets, Sayegh concluded that the city needs “federal help.”
Congressman Bill Pascrell, recounted when during his time as mayor of the city, as well as a member of the New Jersey State Legislature, he was forced to wear a protective vest as he stood beside former Governor Jim Florio for the signing of New Jersey’s assault weapons ban in 1990.
Kavanaugh’s views, Pascrell said, are “openly hostile to the safety of Americans,” a point followed up on by Bill Castner, Senior Advisor to Governor Phil Murphy on Firearms, who added that the nominees’ confirmation is “a direct threat to New Jersey assault weapons bans and concealed carry laws.”
Nicholas Supplina, Managing Director for Law & Policy, Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities, also spoke to offer his organization’s views on the nominee’s judicial record on firearms.
“When it comes to guns we’ve already heard enough,” of Kavanaugh’s views. Views, he said, citing the nominees dissent in 2011 to a Washington D.C.’s assault weapons ban, are “extremist, alarming and outside of the judicial mainstream.”
Bob Hugin, the Republican candidate running against Menendez for the U.S. Senate seat in November's election offered his own view on the Kavanaugh's nomination saying that “The American people expect and deserve a full review of this highly qualified nominee.
"I am confident the upcoming hearings will provide the appropriate opportunity to resolve any questions and concerns they may have about the nominee."
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to being confirmation hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Tuesday.