Baraka invokes 9-year-old accidentally shot by brother during gun control speech

by Dan Ivers  |  published on November 20, 2014

Mayor Ras Baraka invoked the 9-year-old girl still lying in a hospital bed after being accidentally shot by her brother during an impassioned speech in favor of stricter gun control laws earlier this week.

During a keynote address at the Jersey City NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund banquet on Sunday, Baraka criticized what he saw as a lack of empathy for those afflicted by violence in the ongoing debate over gun control.

“While America debates the constitutionality of the right to bear arms, nobody is debating the savagery that guns have unleashed on our communities where black and brown people live,” he said.

“The debate over gun violence is not something that’s a political debate, it’s something that’s very real to families who live in these situations every single day. Who have to deal with the level of violence that is penetrating their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their everyday life.”

Baraka said his stance had been reinforced when he visited a 9-year-old girl who a day earlier had been shot by her 12-year-old brother, who was playing with a stolen firearm he found in a bedroom in their Renner Avenue home.

“I could not in good conscience speak this evening without letting you know what was on my heart after seeing that young girl in a hospital bed in the city of Newark, and thinking about the countless and senseless deaths that we encounter in our city every other day,” he said.

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