Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), on the heels of the deadly Parkland school shooting that left at least 17 people dead, joined Lower Hudson Valley students and local law enforcement for a roundtable discussion on gun violence and prevention. Lowey heard directly from participants about the need for commonsense gun safety reform and discussed her efforts to prevent gun violence.
Joining Congresswoman Lowey at the roundtable were Frank Williams, Executive Director of the City of White Plains Youth Bureau; Det. Gilberto Lopez, School Resource Officer for the White Plains Police Department; Det. Morgan Cole-Hatchard from the Pleasantville Police Department; New Castle’s Community Resource Officer Michelle Mazzocchi; and more than a dozen high school students.
Lowey invited students from White Plains, Blind Brook, Horace Greeley and Pleasantville High Schools along with a White Plains resident that attends Iona Prep, to participate in the roundtable after several reached out to her expressing their fear of gun violence in their communities, particularly in their schools, as well as their frustration with congressional inaction on gun violence.
“The bottom line is that students have a right to go to school free from fear, not having to worry about anything other than expanding their horizons and minds,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “These mass shootings, including the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, continue to shake all of us to the core, and students are left fearful for their safety. That’s unacceptable, and congressional Republicans must join Democrats in commonsense reforms to reduce gun violence, keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and improve public safety. The students I spoke with today demand action, and it’s past time that the Republican-controlled Congress take meaningful steps to end this nation’s gun crisis.”
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average 96 Americans, including seven children and teens, are killed with guns every day, while nearly 13,000 are the victims of gun homicides every year. According to The American Journal of Medicine, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children 14 and under who were killed by a firearm lived in the United States. The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world as well as a significantly higher gun homicide rate than other advanced countries.
“Violence has once again visited our community,” said Frank Williams, Executive Director of the City of White Plains Youth Bureau. “In Parkland, Florida, fourteen youth and three teachers died at the hands of another. As a nation, we are better than this. We must all work together to end this plague. We must listen to our youth and empower them to help us rid this evil. Today in White Plains, we heard the voices of our youth and we will work to end this violence.”
Lowey is a member of the congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and has been a leader in fighting to prevent gun violence, including working to strengthen background checks, close the terror gap loophole, and ban assault weapons and bump stocks. Last Congress, Lowey introduced the NICS Community Protection Act, which would close the Charleston loophole by providing 14 businesses days rather than three for a background check to be completed by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In February, Lowey sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to allow a vote to lift the ban on federal gun violence research. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, Lowey has repeatedly offered an amendment in the committee to provide funding for the CDC to conduct gun violence prevention research.