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Jersey City, N.J. – Yesterday, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) marked National Gun Violence Awareness Day by hosting a forum on gun violence prevention that brought together stakeholders for a comprehensive discussion on how to make New Jersey communities safer. The forum, which Congressman Payne, Jr. convened at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center in Jersey City, included law enforcement members, elected officials, mental health experts, school officials, and advocates.

“Today’s forum was a great opportunity to bring together and hear from stakeholders about meaningful steps our community and country can take to reduce gun violence,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “From strengthening background checks to promoting smart gun technology, there are many common-sense reforms we can put in place to keep our communities safe while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. I look forward to continuing this discussion so we can work together on ways to help protect New Jerseyans from gun violence.”

“Gun violence is not just a police problem, it’s not just a community problem—we all have to come together to solve it,” said Captain Timothy Lockwood, South District Commander at the Jersey City Police Department.

As a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Congressman Payne, Jr. continues to support efforts to take meaningful steps to reduce and prevent gun violence. In December 2015, Congressman Payne, Jr. introduced the Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act, legislation that would keep guns out of the wrong hands by creating a federal gun buyback program that incentivizes gun owners to voluntarily get guns off the street.  Congressman Payne, Jr. is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, which would close the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist gun loophole.

 Participants in forum included: 

John Gay, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office     

Gerard M. Balmir, Jr., Freeholder, Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Esther Suarez, Hudson County Prosecutor, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office

Gene Rubino, Acting Chief of Investigations, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office

Frank Schillari, Sheriff, Hudson County

Philip Zacche, Chief of Police, Jersey City Police Department

Timothy Lockwood, Captain, South District Commander, Jersey City Police Department

Michael Kelly, Captain, West District Commander, Jersey City Police Department                

Dr. Marcia Lyles, Superintendent, Jersey City School District

Muhammad Umar, Acting CEO, Urban League of Hudson County

Robyn Gorman, Executive Director, Hudson Partnership CMO                   

Pamela Johnson, Executive Director, Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement

Stephanie Wilson, Founder, It’s On Us