Murphy names top adviser on N.J. gun-control policies

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appoints Bill Castner as his senior adviser on firearms. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appoints Bill Castner as his senior adviser on firearms. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield vice president will serve as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s senior adviser on firearms policy.

Bill Castner will make sure the administration is properly tracking progress in the push to stop gun violence and help identify innovative partnerships, Murphy said in making the announcement Monday.

“We hope that in having a single point of confluence for all of our gun safety efforts, we will be a model for our nation on smart policy and smarter programs,” he said.

Castner will coordinate initiatives the governor has already launched and will evaluate potential legal challenges against unscrupulous gun manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

“There is broad federal immunity for the gun industry that happened in Washington,” said Castner. “But I can say, authoritatively, that New Jersey can pursue aggressive actions against bad actors. And all I can say on that front is, please stay tuned.”

Prominent gun-rights activists attended the event where Castner’s appointment was announced.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was critically wounded in a 2011 shooting, said stopping gun violence takes courage.

“The courage to do what’s right. The courage of new ideas,” she said. “I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible, Democrats, Republicans, everyone.”

Murphy added that he’s awaiting Senate action next month on six gun-safety bills the Assembly passed in March so he can sign them into law.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.