WESTFIELD, NJ — A former councilman is taking a shot at improving gun safety measures, and he is aiming high.

To do so he is first starting with his Town Council.

Tony LaPorta has asked the council to support gun safety measures that include a nationwide ban on the sale of assault firearms. Municipal governments in Chatham, Madison and Caldwell are among those in New Jersey to take similar actions.

Sign Up for Westfield Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“Whether or not Westfield passes this resolution or not, it’s not going to stop the movement,” LaPorta told the Town Council last week. “But again I think you will best represent the citizens of Westfield by passing this resolution.”

LaPorta comes to the council after receiving the backing of the Union County Freeholder Board, which in November passed a resolution, sponsored by Freeholder Al Mirabella, supporting a nationwide ban on the sale, import, transfer and ownership of assault firearms.

New Jersey already has banned assault firearms. However, LaPorta said he is lobbying state legislators to support a federal ban, with the ultimate goal of bringing it to Congress. The more local governments to back a federal ban, he said, the better.

“This is not about New Jersey. It’s about the nation,” LaPorta told TAPinto Westfield. “This is a petition to our Congress.”

His plea to the council Jan. 15 was not the first time LaPorta has asked his local government to support stronger federal gun laws.

LaPorta, who served as a 1st Ward Democratic councilman in the early 1990s, approached the council with his request last year, but the proposal did not get on an agenda.

Mayor Shelley Brindle in an interview last week said that she would bring the gun safety measure to the council for consideration.

Brindle said she isn’t opposed to a ban on assault weapons, but the local government’s legislative time is limited, which is why town officials didn’t approve the request last year.

“I’m in support of a national ban on AR-15’s, there’s no question,” she said. “It’s just a question of what’s the right process for Westfield.”

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh