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Courier Post Online - Runyan, others to discuss ways to halt violence

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Written by Kevin C. Shelly

A summit of invited experts will meet with Rep. Jon Runyan and Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield today for "an open and comprehensive discussion on reducing gun violence," according to Runyan's office.

The 1 p.m. meeting at the Burlington County Administration Building is not open to the public, but possible follow-up meetings could be, according to spokesman Andrew Fasoli.

The experts represent the law enforcement, education and mental health communities.

The Republican congressman has said he plans to take the input back to Washington as part of a national conversation on how to address gun violence.

Runyan ran for office on his support for Second Amendment rights, especially for hunters, and been endorsed and financially supported by the NRA.

But he recently broke with the group over a recent advertisement calling President Barack Obama a hypocrite for sending his children to school with armed Secret Service agents.

"What this discussion does not need is what we saw today from the NRA," Runyan said when the ad aired.

"Their ad ... was at the very least inappropriate and diverts the discussion away from the important issues."

The second-term congressman said he "will give consideration to any good-faith proposal that makes our communities safer."

"After the Newtown tragedy, we need to have a serious discussion about gun safety, mental health and violence in our society," he stated.

"While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I also recognize the need to keep our schools and communities as safe as possible."

Among the invited are Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi and Kathleen Devlin, security chief for Pemberton Township Schools.


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