Orange ribbons and texts: Moms in Morristown press for common-sense gun laws, a decade after Sandy Hook

Moms Demand Action members gather in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 3, 2022. Photo by Bill Lescohier


Armed with orange ribbons and cell phones, about 50 members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered Friday in Morristown to continue their campaign for universal background checks and a national ban on assault weapons like the ones used in recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa.

“We’re sick of the assault weapons,” Morristown Councilwoman Sandi Mayer said from the town hall steps on National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

“We’re sick of our children being attacked in schools, hospitals, synagogues, churches, malls. Everywhere we go. Doctor’s offices, yesterday” in Tulsa, Okla.

Holly Cox ties an orange ribbon in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 3, 2022. Photo by Bill Lescohier

Mayer, a Democrat, and other orange-clad activists blamed Senate Republicans for blocking legislation, despite years of carnage.

“We thought Sandy Hook was the moment there would be pivotal change,” said Theresa Piliero of Moms Demand Action, referring to the 2012 massacre of 26 children and teachers at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

“The reason we have continued senseless gun violence is because the Republican senators have refused to take action,” said Piliero, who expressed hope that members of Moms Demand Action across the country will vote them out.

Sandi Mayer speaks out. Video by Bill Lescohier for Morristown Green, June 3, 2022:

In a televised speech on Thursday, President Biden expressed outrage and called on Republicans to support a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, expanded background checks, and liability for gun manufacturers.

Damage from an 18-year-old shooter’s legally purchased assault rifle was so devastating in Uvalde, the president said, “parents had to do DNA swabs to identify the remains of their children – 9- and 10-year old-children. Enough!”

Biden’s appeal was dismissed by conservatives who defended gun ownership and accused the president of “politicizing” the issue.


The political divide extends to the local scene.

Councilwoman Sandi Mayer, Morris Democratic Chair Amalia Duarte of Mendham, and Kim Hurdman in Morristown, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 3, 2022. Photo by Bill Lescohier

“Where are the Republicans?” asked Morris County Democratic Chairperson Amalia Duarte, who appeared at the Morristown event with Democratic county commissioner candidate Judy Hernandez of Parsippany.

Duarte praised county GOP officials for attending Thursday’s Morristown for Ukraine rally, “a beautiful thing to see.”

“But they also should be here as well,” Duarte said. “This is a common-sense issue.”

Morristown Green reached out to the Morris County Board of Commissioners, which is composed entirely of Republicans, and to the county GOP organization. This story will be updated with their responses.

Friday’s ribbons–symbols of gun violence awareness, in memory of a Chicago teen gunned down a week after performing at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration–were affixed to downtown light posts. Cell phones were used to text lawmakers with demands for action.

Established with a single Facebook posting one day after Sandy Hook, Moms Demand Action has grown to 8 million members. Piliero said that includes 500,000 since last month’s murder of 19 children and two teachers at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Ten people were shot dead only days earlier, in a racist attack on a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY.

Women at the Morristown event acknowledged their frustration, citing other countries that acted swiftly after mass shootings.

Harriet Sepinwall of Montville said she can’t fathom how an America in which licenses are required for everything from driving a car to performing surgery can allow unlicensed gun ownership.

Jaime O’Brien, a lawyer from Chatham, said her township’s Republican controlled governing body refused her request to issue a proclamation recognizing victims of gun violence for Gun Violence Awareness Month.

O’Brien recounted an active shooter situation when her son was in college. While it proved to be a false alarm, she described the period of uncertainty as “indescribably frightening.”

Morris County Commission candidate Judy Hernandez with an orange ribbon, in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 3, 2022. Photo by Bill Lescohier

Randolph resident Leslie Moran founded the local chapter of Moms Demand Action in 2016. She hopes New Jersey, with its tough gun laws, can be a leader in the national debate.

Moran applauded Gov. Phil Murphy’s re-introduction of even stricter measures, and his call for votes on every gun measure before the state legislature, to put lawmakers’ positions on the record.

Lisa Bentley, an attorney and mother of three from Randolph, said she had grown weary of fighting this uphill battle. The recent shootings re-galvanized her to “come out and do something once and for all.”

Asked about President Biden’s call to remove the immunity that has shielded gun manufacturers from lawsuits–a strategy used effectively against the tobacco industry– Bentley said she is ready to do her part.

“I’d be more than happy to do pro bono work,” Bentley said. “Maybe that is the answer.”

Correspondent Bill Lescohier contributed to this report.

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  1. HA! Just read your replies Jeff. You may talk about others being “unarmed”, but when it comes to debate you seem to be very much a quadriplegic. First, let’s consider that you offered nothing to rebut what was a fact based evisceration of your initial assertions on the matter. Second, you’ve now introduced several off-topic strawman arguments designed to shift the conversation and the discussion to something other than what it was. So, answer a direct question, Jeff. Do stricter gun laws make a difference in terms of how many Americans die or are injured from gun violence? Be detailed in your explanation, and provide facts to support them. Your inept platitudes and dismissive LOL comments are not considered evidence when discussing an important issue.

  2. Hi Margret, you conveniently overlook the Big Pharma fraud that also has NO liability. Anyone with a brain will want to see the long term safety data before injecting.

  3. Was reading (good at it-lot’s of squinting teleprompter experience) one of Margret’s posts re gun mfg liability. If I plow you over with my classic Corvette are you suing Chevrolet?

  4. Joebjr – LOL!
    Correction folks, I meant 200-300 MILLION guns. I don’t want Marg and Pig to think there were only a few hundred guns out there that they could easily grab. 🙂
    Also, I saw this great quote today: ““If I’m a mass murderer and I’m going to kill 19 children and two adults, I’m not particularly worried about a gun charge.”
    Nailed it!

  5. Margret Brady doesn’t understand that guns don’t stop working after one use. They are not like firecrackers. You can use them over and over for many, many years. There are between 200 and 300 guns out there NOW. Someone doesn’t have to buy a new gun. They can use, steal, borrow, or buy an old one.
    It’s true!

  6. Hello Pigday31,
    Thanks for weighing in. I’m not going to put too much into this as I don’t want to get into a war of wits with an unarmed adversary. if all the guns today were to disappear into thin air, criminals would find another way. Example: The OKC bombing. No guns used. Were guns used to kill thousands on 9/11? How about Wauesha? I think not! The deadliest school mass murder was the result of bomb. In Waukesha people were mowed down by a racist madman in an SUV. Should we ban SUVs? How about knives? Many people are killed with knives.
    Illinois, New York, and California have strict gun laws. How’s that working out? Answer: Not well.
    Your assertion that the 2nd Amendment should be repealed is laughable. Thankfully that won’t happen.
    Gun violence is a problem, not an issue.
    My commentary might be offensive to you and some others, but I’m gonna let you in on a little something: MANY agree with me.

  7. Jeff doesn’t seem to understand the the laws being discussed are not aimed at those criminals, now legally able to purchase guns meant for mass destruction but laws that enable immature young people to purchase those guns and the dealers and manufacturers, who profit from those sales without any liability or taking any responsibility for their actions. To me they are the real criminals.

  8. Jeff. If you are committed to logic and reason as one might infer from your commentary here, then consider the following: a) There is nothing “funny” or worthy of a “LOL” regarding the rampant gun violence in this country. b) You are factually incorrect when you assert that “states with the strictest gun laws have the worst violence”. Here’s why that is so: In 2020, the states with the highest rates of gun-related deaths – counting murders, suicides and all other categories tracked by the CDC – included Mississippi (28.6 per 100,000 people), Louisiana (26.3), Wyoming (25.9), Missouri (23.9) and Alabama (23.6). The states with the lowest rates included New York (5.3), Rhode Island (5.1), New Jersey (5.0), Massachusetts (3.7) and Hawaii (3.4). c) If you are going to make it all about reacting “logically”, then let’s consider your statement, that “more laws would make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to carry”. If you are opposed to red flag laws and restrictions on assault weaponry, then one wonders just how committed you really are to following the law. d) It is well past time that gun ownership is to be considered a right. It should be considered a privilege, much like driver’s licenses are considered. The 2nd Amendment has outlived its original purpose, and can and should be repealed and replaced. Nothing short of such action will stem the tide of murder, suicide, and death of innocents by gun violence which have become routine in this country. If you truly care about other Americans, you would not take such a cavalier approach to this serious subject, and you’d look to solve the issue. Your commentary is offensive to your fellow citizens, devoid of facts, and contains zero logic and reason.

  9. It’s so funny that so many think that more laws will make any difference. They are oblivious to the fact that criminals don’t follow laws and that these shooters have already broken a whole host of laws. More laws will only make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to carry.
    Kinda strange how states with the strictest gun laws have most of the worst gun violence. Funny how that works, huh? A lot of these commenters also don’t know that there are hundreds of millions of guns ALREADY OUT THERE. It’s true! How do they plan on getting all of those guns back? Will they beg the gang bangers to hand ’em in? Will they go door-to-door with metal detectors? LOL! Answer: They never bothered to think that one through! They just react emotionally instead of logically.

  10. Common-sense gun laws. Shouldn’t be hard for a country as outstanding as this one to come up with!

  11. While I wasn’t present at this rally, I support stricter gun regulation in every way possible!