Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today released the following statement in response to the not guilty verdict announced last night in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty of killing teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida:
"The not guilty verdict handed down in the murder trial of George Zimmerman marks a heartbreaking chapter in our nation's criminal justice system. Nothing can take away the profound sadness of Trayvon's family for having lost their loved one, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.
"The death of Trayvon Martin and the resulting not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman underscores the troubling reality in our society that gun violence continues to threaten our families and communities. Far too many lives have been destroyed by gun violence and Trayvon's death is yet another example of the fact that we need a change in the way our culture deals with both guns and race.
"The simple facts are that there are too many guns on our streets and too many people are too quick to use them. It is long past time for Congress to take action on gun violence. We need to adopt common sense measure that would reduce the proliferation of guns in communities throughout the nation.
"This incident also raises questions about another disturbing reality in American culture--racial profiling. The presence of a gun in a confrontation that began with the racial profiling of Trayvon Martin created a recipe for disaster that fateful night. Trayvon's death and the ensuing trial have made it clear that we need to have a national conversation on race and civility. In fact, we need to do more than talk about race, we need to work to promote greater sensitivity, and respect for all Americans of all backgrounds."