New Jersey joins three other states in ‘gun safety’ coalition

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy  (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are forming a regional “States for Gun Safety” coalition.

More than 80 percent of the crimes involving guns in New Jersey are committed with guns from out of state, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday. And while the four coalition states already have tough gun laws, he said they can be stronger.

“We’re working with [New Jersey’s] legislature to enact a whole series of steps, but it has to accept the reality that getting engaged with other like-minded states and, hopefully, beyond, we can mitigate this awful scourge,” he said.

A cross-state task force will trace and intercept illegal guns and focus on sharing information about individuals who might pose a threat, he said.

Murphy also hopes to get universities involved in creating a regional consortium on gun violence to collect data and recommend ways to stem the slaughter.

“The federal government has had a provision in place now for over 20 years that effectively bars the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence,” he said. “So it has devolved to the states. And our thought is perhaps we can do it in a coordinated way. Things like meaningfully propelling smart gun technology.”

The states can no longer wait for the federal government to pass responsible gun safety legislation, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“This is not about baby steps,” he said. “This is not about bump stocks and moving the age from 18 to 21. Those are just political crumbs to end the political discomfort for some of the elected officials.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she hopes the coordinated state effort will make schools and communities safer.

“We can send a powerful message to the whole country that it is possible to improve our gun laws and save lives,” she said. “And we can all look at our kids, and when they ask us what are you doing about it, we can give them a good answer.”

Murphy said he will continue working with the Legislature to pass more gun-safety laws in New Jersey.

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