Runyan Invites Gun Seller to Anti-Violence Summit

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, elected in 2010, may face a more northern constituency. (April Saul / Staff Photographer)

As the Senate Judiciary Committee was debating gun control measures and hearing emotional testimony from Gabrielle Giffords, Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) was holding his own "gun summit" in Mount Holly, Burlington County.

A gun shop owner who represented the NRA was among the 26 invited guests at Runyan's summit, but no one from the traditional gun control advocacy groups was included.   

After the two-hour roundtable discussion, Runyan said he remains undecided about whether to support any of the proposals that are on the table to curb gun violence.  

Runyan, who is financially backed by the NRA, said the existing laws need better enforcement, echoing remarks that NRA executive president Wayne LaPierre was making to the Judicial Committee around the same time.

Runyan's press secretary, Andrew Fasoli, said that the founder of the non-profit  Stop Drop Your Gun was invited and provided the "counter-point" to the gun shop owner, who urged a hands-off approach to restrictions on guns.  Fasoli said that Runyan and Sheriff Jean Stanfield, who co-hosted the event, brought him in as a counter-balance." 

Kelly Logan, the founder, recommended Burlington County sponsor a gun buyback program to get illegal guns off the street.  His mission is to educate young people on the "perils of weapons and drugs," according to his website.

Fasoli said that Runyan and the Burlington County Sheriff, who co-hosted the event, "brought Kelly Logan in as a counter-balance." 

All of the other guests were professionals in law enforcement, education and the field of mental health.  Most stressed the importance in early intervention with children to prevent them from joining gangs or resorting to violence.