Some good news from Art All Night, a community art event held annually each spring in Lawrenceville. They have put an official no-weapons policy in place, for volunteers and the public. No guns – permit or not. As you may recall, last year we found a volunteer openly carrying a handgun in his waistband.
From the Art All Night website:
Art All Night is a family friendly, weapons free, community event. Public safety issues will be dealt with on a case by case basis by the security team with support from law enforcement.
In addition, I received this statement from the planning committee:
Since this year’s first Art All Night planning meeting in February, the planning committee has had several discussions about volunteer expectations, including what to do if a volunteer brings a weapon. The committee has created language around volunteer and visitor expectations and have added them to Art All Night’s website. This can be found here (http://www.artallnight.org/wp
/?page_id=65) and here (http://www.artallnight.org/wp /?page_id=557). In addition to publicly stating that Art All Night is a weapons-free event, there will also be a “no weapons” sign posted at the door.
I am quite pleased with turn of events. This past weekend, I spent some time paying my respects to the family of Andre Gray, a Lawrenceville resident who was murdered by a gun shot. I also read about gun violence on Easter evening that left one 20 year old man dead and others wounded. The young man who died had ties to local artists with ties to Lawrenceville and the local arts scene. It is a small world and these things matter. If we want people to stop shooting because we do, in fact, love them – we need to absolutely take every step possible to make sure our children feel safe in their community.
And we need to honor the lives of Andre Gray and Chris Richardson, too.
To me, this is a no-brainer policy. Guns don’t belong at community art events. Volunteers have absolutely no reason to bear a weapon – there is nothing that could justify that, nothing to justify pulling a gun in a room filled with people. This isn’t a movie of the week. Any perceived threat to public safety can be dealt with by the on-site law enforcement officers.
I was going to close with a witty comment about the parking issues at Art All Night, but I’m very sobered by the loss of Chris Richardson. So let me close with something that reflects why we and so many others come to Art All Night.