N.J. in line for tougher gun laws if Democrat wins governor’s race

New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy promises to crack down on deadly violence through gun-control measures if elected governor. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy promises to crack down on deadly violence through gun-control measures if elected governor. (AP file photo)

If he becomes New Jersey’s next governor, Democrat Phil Murphy said he will sign the gun-control legislation that Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed. And he has proposed additional measures to stem violence.

At a news conference Thursday, retired astronaut Mark Kelly joined Murphy to emphasize what they said is a need for stronger laws to curb the tide of violence.

Kelly, who founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in 2011, said they are endorsing Murphy because he’s advancing solutions to make communities safer.

“Somebody is killed with a gun in New Jersey every 18 hours,” Kelly said. “And New Jersey voters deserve a governor who will protect their Second Amendment rights, but, at the same time, make New Jersey safer from gun violence.”

Part of his plan to accomplish that, Murphy said, will be to approach leaders of neighboring states to talk about coordinating strategies.

“We think about 80 percent of the guns involved in crimes in New Jersey come from out of state, so not only to we have to do a better job in our state, we have to engage with our neighbors,” said Murphy, who is seen as the front-runner in the race against Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican gubernatorial nominee.

Murphy, who said he wants to mandate safety training for anyone seeking to buy a firearm, also  proposes taxing gun sales to provide more funds for law enforcement, drug treatment centers, and mental health services.

The election will take place Nov. 7.

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