TRENTON, NJ - On Sunday, August 18th, gun safety advocates from across the state joined together in front of the Trenton War Memorial to demand that the Senate comes out of recess to vote on H.R 8. In summary, H.R 8 is a bipartisan background check act that would require a background check on every gun sale or transfer.

According to the Giffords Law Center, ”Around 80% of all firearms acquired for criminal purposes are obtained through transfers from unlicensed sellers.” This means that there were no background checks required for the sale of those guns. The bill, which passed in the House, has been sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk for months now. That's why in New Jersey, and in every state across the country, there was a Recess Rally lead by Everytown for Gun Safety. 

I was among those advocates, as well as fellow East Brunswick High School students who are members of Students Demand Action East Brunswick. Students Demand Action is a youth lead movement for gun sense in America. I founded our group last year because there are so many students, myself included, who are afraid. We’re afraid because every day 100 Americans die due to gun violence and hundreds more are wounded. Our country witnesses mass shooting after mass shooting. On top of that, black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by gun violence. While East Brunswick might not be prone to regular gun violence, until there is a comprehensive plan passed to combat the issue no community is safe. 

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The rally was attended by many important political figures in New Jersey. Speakers included Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12,) Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6,) Charles Barker, a representative of Senator Cory Booker, Governor Murphy’s gun violence prevention advisor Bill Castner and more. Students Demand Action Advisory Board member Jai Patel was also among the speakers.

Seeing so many people from so many different backgrounds all come together to mourn and demand change was incredible. We hope our leaders were listening to the overwhelming number of Americans who support common-sense gun reform. We will continue to fight to ensure safe communities for all.