'Town Hall For Our Lives' events continue gun reform conversation
The conversation around gun violence and reform is continuing in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, with a series of town hall events.
The community forums, called "Town Hall For Our Lives" events, were being held around the country this weekend, including here in the Garden State. They come in the wake of the massive March For Our Lives demonstrations held last month in the nation's capital and in cities around the U.S.
One town hall event was held Saturday in Ridgewood. It was organized by high school students and was attended by elected officials.
"It's our lives, it's my friends' lives, it's my teachers' lives. It's anyone who goes to the mall or movie theater's lives, essentially. And if you keep talking down to us, nothing's going to change," says Elena Perez, a junior at Lyndhurst High School.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) suggested that teens and the officials can draw strength from one another.
"Too many of our colleagues in Congress fear a backlash from the NRA. Well, I think it's time they fear a backlash from America's young people instead of the NRA," Menendez says.
Both elected officials and the organizers affirmed their support for the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners.
"This is not a crusade to take guns away. If you're on the watchlist and you can't get on an airplane, but you can buy a weapon, there is something wrong with that picture, there is something wrong," says Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey).
Menendez and Pascrell both said those who want change may need to be patient, but if they stay unified and energized they can succeed.
"We aren't doing this for political or partisan motives. We're doing this because we want to be safe," says Laurence Fine, a Ridgewood High School freshman.
Town Hall for Our Lives events were held in at least 30 states.