Monmouth County, NJ – February 28, 2020
Last night, the Monmouth County Freeholders passed a resolution declaring the County of Monmouth a Second Amendment Lawful Gun Owner County. The resolution was introduced to the body by Freeholder Lillian Burry at yesterday’s 1pm workshop meeting and it was then put on the agenda for the 5pm regular meeting where it was passed unanimously by Burry, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, Freeholder Susan Kiley and newcomer Freeholder Nick DiRocco. Despite the fact that the resolution was pushed through with little advance notice, dozens of Monmouth County residents, including large numbers of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America activists, attended the 5pm meeting to express their concern with the resolution.
Candidate Moira Nelson said, “We attended the meeting in Freehold and despite the push back, the Freeholders passed the 2A resolution. Essentially, they are protecting guns and gun owners instead of protecting our children from gun violence. We are profoundly disappointed that the resolution was passed. Freeholder Arnone tried to convince the room that the resolution was innocuous. If so, why aren’t they passing a resolution showing support for all amendments? Honestly speaking, this is abhorrent. This resolution does nothing but inflame the already divisive political discourse in this county and is purely political. Freeholder Burry, who is up for reelection this year, introduced this resolution to appeal to her base.” Nelson continued, “We fully respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No one is coming to take your guns away! Our state’s laws are intended to save lives and they protect our families. We have a gun violence epidemic in this country. We cannot get behind any effort to weaken our state’s gun laws, even if it’s just a non-binding, symbolic statement. This tells us what their priorities are. We now know that they stand with fringe groups like the 2A Sanctuary movement instead of Monmouth County families.”
At the top of the meeting, Freeholder Burry said this isn’t a “sanctuary” resolution, however the grassroots movement to get these resolutions passed throughout New Jersey is called the 2A Sanctuary Movement. According to their website, this organization’s primary objective is to “turn each county into a sanctuary for their 2nd amendment rights.” The activists involved in this movement want to allow people with serious acute mental health issues to have access to weapons even if they are an immediate danger to themselves or others; they are opposed to “red flag” laws which allow law enforcement to disarm those that pose a threat to themselves or others. They also oppose universal background checks and background checks for private sales. In essence, they want no controls or accountability for weapons ownership. They even want the sale of assault weapons to be legal. Yet, an APM Research Lab survey released in August 2019 found widespread national approval of red flag laws, with 77 percent of Americans supporting family-initiated extreme risk protection orders and 70 percent in support of those initiated by the police.
Lawless resolutions, such as this, are not legally binding but they undermine the rule of law and are typically passed to score political points. Here in the United States, we are facing an epidemic of gun violence. We lose an average of 100 people to gun violence daily in this country. In NJ, we lose an average of 480 people annually. The reason this number is relatively low is because we value common sense gun safety laws which save lives and keep our families safe.
“County government should not be introducing resolutions that are intentionally politically divisive or encourage local law enforcement to disregard the State’s common sense gun safety laws. We urge the Monmouth County Freeholders to focus their attention on more pressing issues such as the environment, the issues with the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, property taxes, properly funding Brookdale Community College, and properly funding social services to serve the most vulnerable in our community. Wasting time and energy to pass non-binding resolutions like this is purely political pandering.” said Candidate Michael Penna.
About Michael Penna & Moira Nelson for Freeholder
Michael lives in Belmar, he is an educator teaching Drama and English to at-risk and special needs children at Collier High School, and he is a PhD candidate. He is dedicated to social justice and equality for all residents, he is an advocate for the disabled, and is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Moira was born & raised in Monmouth County, is a long-time fashion industry executive, she is dedicated to civic engagement and justice. As a drug policy reform advocate, she uses her voice to speak up for those suffering from substance use disorders, and she has mentored women in recovery, underprivileged teens, and young professionals throughout her adult life.
Michael and Moira envision a County government that is representative of ALL residents - women, people of color, children, seniors, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the homeless, those suffering from substance use disorders, the working class and small business owners - EVERYONE. Michael and Moira are committed to listening, to focusing on solutions, and if elected, they would be honored to represent your concerns on the Freeholder Board. We need a clear, ambitious, innovative vision that honors our heritage and carries us through the 21st century.