The Hunterdon County Democratic Committee sponsored a Rally for Our Children in Flemington on the steps of the Hunterdon County Historic Courthouse on Saturday, February 24th, gathering a crowd of residents who are in support of sensible gun control. The speakers at the event all made a plea to end the senseless tragedies that have taken place in our schools and communities for the past two decades. We were reminded that on April 20, 1999 two teens went on a shooting spree in a Columbine High School, and little has been done to prevent this type of tragedy almost 20 years later.
Clinton Town Mayor, Janice Kovach, gave the opening remarks and welcomed everyone for attending and thanked the crowd for giving up their time on a Saturday morning for such an important cause. Featured speakers included Flemington resident, Chris Runion, who is a teacher in Montgomery Township. Mr. Runion talked about what it's like to participate in "lock down" drills and ended his speech by saying "Let us put away our trigger fingers and take out our ballot fingers, because our lives depend on it.”
NJ Assemblyman Roy Frieman and Tom Malinowski, the Hunterdon County endorsed Candidate for Congress (against Leonard Lance) also addressed the crowd. Both men talked about the need for sensible gun laws and pointed out that while NJ is one of the states with the best common sense gun laws, other states are in need of reform.
Carole Stiller, President of the NJ Brady Campaign and Million Mom March State Council talked about the lasting effects that students face after the trauma of being a surviving victim of a shooting spree and that it is something they will have to live with the rest of their lives.
But the most engaging moments on Saturday came from two Hunterdon Central Regional High School (HCRHS) students who moved the crowd with their plea for gun reform. Katie Conover, a Junior at HCRHS said "Children are often told they can change the world. And that's just what we are going to do." HCRHS Senior and President of the Hunterdon County Young Democrats, Austin Ritter, served as emcee for the rally. Austin's opening remarks included the reading an open letter from the parents of a young son that was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. It was a poignant and emotional moment.