WESTFIELD, NJ—New Jersey Residents for Action and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society faced off Feb. 20 outside of Congressman Leonard Lance’s office on North Avenue in a protest and counter-protest regarding gun control issues.

The event was originally scheduled by the Residents for Action as a way to demonstrate in favor of stricter gun control. More than 45 members of that grassroots organization arrived, bringing with them a petition to show Lance that was circulated online and signed by over 470,000 people that states:

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“Our second amendment rights are long overdue a reevaluation. How many more senseless and entirely PREVENTABLE shootings have to occur before we do something about Gun Control.

“As a citizen and constituent of this great country, I am asking that you take a firm stand and make a positive change by restricting access to guns and saving lives.

“I don't have a gun. I don't want a gun. I don't need a gun. But somehow the guns always wind up in the hands of people crazy enough to use them irresponsibly and dangerously. This HAS TO BE STOPPED.

“Thank you for your action!!”

About 25 members of NJ2AS arrived at the same time to show their support for Lance. Joey Grimaldi, a member of NJ2AS who came from Kenilworth, cited the Holocaust as an example of a time when people died because they could not defend themselves.

“The Second Amendment is vital to our freedom,” said Grimaldi. “You take the citizens’ right to protect themselves with a firearm and you take the citizen’s life.”

Howard Britt, a pediatrician from Summit, said he was standing with the Residents for Action as an advocate for children. Britt works for Jewish Renaissance Medical Center and often works with children from Newark.

“I’ve seen kids who were shot, usually by accident,” said Britt.

Eileen and Mike Cleckner stood with Residents for Action, as well.

“We came all the way from Raritan Township to show our support,” said Eileen Cleckner.