Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Hosts Roundtable on Gun Safety with South Jersey High School Students, School Administrators, Chiefs of Police

Feb 28, 2018
News Release

BLACKWOOD, NJ – As students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida return to school for the first time since the tragic mass shooting on February 14, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) hosted a roundtable discussion in South Jersey about gun violence.

At Highland Regional High School, students, school administrators, chiefs of police and community leaders from Gloucester Township and Washington Township talked to the Congressman about school safety. Click here to view or download photos from the
roundtable
Click here to watch the Facebook Live video.

“Simply offering thoughts and prayers after each tragic mass shooting – then doing nothing – means nothing and Americans know it. We need to have open conversations about gun violence in our communities and resolve to take action,” said Congressman Norcross. “President Trump and the NRA are suggesting we arm teachers. That’s lunacy – our teachers already have hard enough jobs, and having more guns in schools will only put our children at greater risk. It’s time for Congress to listen to our children and vote on sensible gun safety measures.”

The Chiefs of Police in attendance were not in favor of arming teachers and discussed the systems their districts have in place in case of a school shooting. The students brought up gun laws and how the school community is reacting to the Parkland shooting.

“Mass shootings are being normalized, but they shouldn’t be,” said Highland Regional High School Senior Dan Walker. “I’m thankful for the Parkland students for standing up and doing what they’re doing right now. They are allowing all students in American to have a voice.”

“When we go to school, we expect it to be a safe place,” said Highland Regional High School Senior Ummulkhayer Sameha. “We shouldn’t have to worry about if we’ll be dying – tests should be what we’re worried about. Someone took the future away from the Parkland students and that should never happen.”

“Right after the Parkland shooting, the conversation about safety and gun control and how we can prevent this from happening again came up,” said Highland Regional High School Senior Grace Simmons. “We should be able to reach a compromise – this shouldn’t be a politicized issue. Our lives are on the line.”

“When the Parkland students started advocating, other students acknowledged that we too have a voice, we have a right to be safe at school,” said Highland Regional High School Senior Priyanka Sanghavi. “Students shouldn’t be thinking about how today may be the day that I get shot, today may be the day that I’m not here.”

Norcross added: “To honor my commitments to all South Jersey students, following this roundtable, I will be inviting every school district that I represent to talk about gun safety in a district-wide discussion. We can only prevent future tragedies by working together to solve our nation’s gun violence epidemic. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Roundtable participants included: Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer; Highland Regional High School Senior Dan Walker; Highland Regional High School Senior Grace Simmons; Highland Regional High School Senior Priyanka Sanghavi; Highland Regional High School Senior Ummulkhayer Sameha; Black Horse Pike Regional School District Board of Education President Jennifer Storer; Washington Township Board of Education Member Julie Yankanich; Black Horse Pike Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Repici; Washington Township High School Superintendent Joe Bollendorf; Highland Regional High School Principal Lisa Owen; Gloucester Township Chief of Police W. Harry Earle; and Washington Township Chief of Police Pat Gurcsik.

Related Legislation

  • Norcross is a co-sponsor of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, which would strengthen our background check system and close the gun show loophole nationally (H.R. 4240).
  • Norcross is an original co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 (H.R. 5087).
  • Norcross is a co-sponsor of the Gun Violence Research Act, which ends the ban on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) investigating and researching gun violence (H.R. 1478).
  • Norcross is a co-sponsor of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act, which bans bump stocks (H.R. 3947).
  • Norcross is a co-sponsor of the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017, which keeps guns out of the hands of domestic abusers (H.R. 2598).
  • Norcross is a co-sponsor of the Safer Neighborhood Gun Buyback Act of 2017 (H.R. 3613).
  • Norcross introduced a resolution that would require a committee hearing each time a moment of silence is held on the Floor of the House for a gun-violence tragedy (H.Res 370).

Related Actions

  • Norcross and all of the Democratic Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter to Chairwoman Virginia Foxx requesting hearings before the full Committee to examine school shootings on February 16, 2018.
  • Norcross strongly opposed concealed carry reciprocity legislation on December 6, 2017.
  • Norcross joined Camden residents at a March Against Gun Violence on April 18, 2017.
  • Norcross joined civil rights icon John Lewis in Camden to discuss gun violence on September 19, 2016.
  • Norcross issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to place limits on the ability of convicted domestic abusers to obtain firearms on July 27, 2016.
  • Norcross participated in a sit-in calling for House leadership to bring gun safety measures up for a vote on June 22, 2016.
  • Norcross demanded that Congress take immediate actions to address gun safety on June 17, 2016.
  • Norcross urged colleagues to close the terror loophole on March 17, 2016.
  • Norcross called on Congress to close the terror loophole on January 6, 2016
  • Norcross joined New Jersey Democrats in urging House leader to save lives on October 5, 2015.

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Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director
ally.kehoe@mail.house.gov