April 20th New Meaning: Day of Action Against Gun Violence


Usually 4/20 means one thing to people, but this year, April 20 has officially become A National Day of Action Against Gun Violence, in a somber nod to the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre nineteen years ago. The City of Beacon joined with cities across the country to set aside the day as a reminder to "call upon the state and federal governments to enact stricter controls governing the sale, possession and distribution of firearms and other dangerous weapons," according to the legislation. A local group of citizens co-organized by Julie Shiroishi and James Case-Leal met at Memorial Park in Beacon with an agenda that included a Student Soapbox, letter-writing campaign, voter registration, and a rally.

Meanwhile, in Philipstown...

Elsewhere and earlier, Philipstown responded to the gun reform movement by ending an 18-month legislative debate about a gun storage law, voting unanimously, 5-0, to enact a Safe-Storage Gun Law, requiring gun owners to lock away their firearms "when they are not in the residence and they know or have reason to know that that children are or may be present in the residence," as stated in the language of the law (click here to read), as first reported by the Highlands Current.

According to the Highlands Current, citizens who attended the public hearings "nearly filled the Haldane school auditorium as proponents and opponents made impassioned arguments," with Board members receiving letters from all over the country. According to the Highlands Current article, in a response to one letter from Nebraska, stating that gun owners are burdened with the cost of purchasing a lock, Philipstown Town Board Member Nancy Montgomery brought a basketful of gun locks to the meeting, stating that they would be free to pick up at the Town Hall, and would be replenished when gone.

For the State of New York...

At the state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the passage of legislation to remove guns from domestic abusers and "prohibits anyone with an outstanding warrant for a felony or other serious offense from receiving or renewing a firearm License."

Says the Beacon Day of Action co-organizer, Julie, of the New York State legislation: "That's good news. Of course, it's great to tighten laws in NY, but it's really got to happen nationally to be meaningful."

Back at A Little Beacon Blog, we wrote a series of articles covering the events that happened locally after the shooting in Parkland, Florida:

Those interested in learning more can visit the National Day of Action or the Network for Public Education.

gun rally walking.jpeg

Update: 4/23/2018

The co-organizers put out this video highlighting the students who demonstrated as part of the Day of Action. Students came from Newburgh and Cold Spring as well, because, according to co-organizer James Case-Leal, they “had nowhere else to go."