It’s Time We Got Serious About Protecting Our Kids From Guns
June 28, 2019 (via email)
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Tucked in an alleyway on Halstead Avenue, just down the street from Parsons Elementary School, St. Gregory’s Church and Harrison Presbyterian Church, and a block away from the Sollazzo Recreation Center and Ma Riis Park, is a gun store. The store opened in 2017, not long after Town officials stripped our zoning laws of provisions that would have made it more difficult for gun sellers to set up shop in our Town. It received the blessing of the Town’s building inspector.
Concerned Harrison citizens quickly mobilized. More than 3,000 local residents signed a petition requesting that the Town Board take reasonable action to limit the sale and trafficking of guns near our schools, parks, and places of worship. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading national organization that works with local communities to craft sensible gun control measures, flew in an expert who presented data and legal precedents about the importance and validity of ordinances restricting the sale of guns near places where children congregate. A major NYC law firm offered to defend the Town against legal challenges to a proposed ordinance free of charge.
But the Mayor and Town Board dithered. While paying lip service to resident demands for action, they squandered the free services offered by the Law Center and the NYC law firm. Instead, they accepted the Law Department’s questionable conclusions that the proposed ordinance might violate the constitution.
Though hounded for months by residents demanding action, the Mayor and Town Board ultimately did nothing.
Many villages and towns, including Rye Brook and Scarsdale, now have local laws that regulate the sale of guns near schools, playgrounds, and places of worship. These laws have repeatedly withstood legal challenge. They are carefully crafted to protect the safety of children and positively enhance the value of the community.
We believe that a store selling guns near our schools, churches, and parks is incompatible with a vibrant community. Our current Town leaders do not take this issue seriously. We do. And we will make every effort to change Harrison’s zoning code and land use laws accordingly.
This year’s local election is critical for people who care about gun safety.
Please make a difference today by contributing to our campaign to help keep our kids safe and prevent gun violence in Harrison. And don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 5th, for the Moving Harrison Forward team of Frank, Lauren and Michael.
Frank Gordon, Candidate for Mayor
Lauren Leader, Candidate for Town Board
Michael Romita, Candidate for Town Board