Rockland County officials and community members stood by Representative Nita Lowey’s side on Thursday as she urged Congress to pass gun control legislation. County and municipal officials said they supported her call for a bipartisan collaboration to approve laws requiring universal background checks for gun ownership, eliminating the gun show loophole and banning high capacity magazines and reinstating the ban on assault weapons.
“These are commonsense measures but we need to make sure these commonsense measures are part of the law,” she said.
Lowey shared a statistic about the number of deaths occurring daily from guns.
“Every day an average of 34 people are killed because of gun violence that could be prevented with commonsense changes in federal law,” she said.
Local officials shared their viewpoints on gun control during the press conference at Haverstraw Village Hall.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said New York’s new gun control laws would not be effective if other states do not follow suit.
“Without a national response to gun control, local rules are almost meaningless,” he said, and then thanked Congresswoman Lowey for her push for federal legislation.
Haverstraw Village Mayor Michael Kohut said, “It’s mindboggling to me that I could own an AK-47 or another assault weapon.”
Visiting an elementary school classroom and reading to the young students earlier in the morning reinforced Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee’s feeling that a nationwide response was the only effective way to control gun violence.
“We absolutely and desperately need aggressive legislation to stop this madness,” said Jaffee.
County Legislative Chair Harriet Cornell stated safety at schools must be improved and that she strongly supported the recommendations from the Lower Hudson Valley School Superintendents Association for more school resource officers and increased school mental health services.
“I think that Call to Action is something we all must commit to,” said Cornell.
Village of Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White read the comments of a Newtown father who son was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Lowey described her goal as, “No more pain. No more suffering. No more unnecessary deaths.”
Also present were Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller, West HaverstrawMayor John Ramundo, Laura Kreeger Niel of the One Million Moms for Gun Control’s Rockland/Westchester Chapter, Haverstraw Village Trustee Emily Dominguez, Village of Airmont Mayor Veronica Boesch, Village of Hillburn Mayor Bernard Jackson, North Rockland School Superintendent Ilean Eckert and Haverstraw Community Center Director Marion Breland-Oswald.