WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (PIX11) – Despite being 1,900 miles away, the tragedy that unfolded in Uvalde, Texas, resonates deeply with students at Memorial High School in West New York.
Outside their school Thursday was a touching tribute honoring the victims. It included 19 empty classroom seats and two desks, each representing a victim of the tragedy. Their names were displayed on the school’s LED message board.
“You just think about your family, your siblings, all the risks they could be at because of all these guns,” said student Melissa Munguia.
Rallying for change and strong federal gun legislation, the students were joined by New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, who are now vowing to take action when they return to Washington.
“How can we possibly claim the mantle of the greatest country in the world if elected officials simply stand by and let this happen?” said Menendez.
“This is not an issue of right or left, this is an issue of right and wrong,” Booker said.
Both senators are pushing for gun safety legislation, including one that would require individuals to obtain a gun license from the U.S. Department of Justice before being able to purchase a firearm.
On the heels of yet another fatal mass shooting this week in Tulsa, gun control advocates are more fired up than ever.
“I am sick and tired of seeing neighboring states refusing to join states like New Jersey in passing common sense laws. I blame them for making our state vulnerable,” said Nicole Alzamora, a Be SMART advocate.
The statistics on gun violence are staggering. So far this year, at least 653 children have been killed as a result of gun violence in the United States, while 1,600 more have been injured by firearms.
It’s an alarming trend that is now front and center as bipartisan negotiations over gun reform continue in Congress with a midterm election just months away.
“The main theme on this election has got to be an election that is about do you want common sense gun safety or not,” Booker said.