Governor Phil Murphy unveils a series of reforms aimed at reducing the epidemic of gun violence. The reform include funding gun violence prevention measures and supporting gun violence legislation.
Murphy is proposing an additional $10 million in funding for community-driven violence prevention programs in New Jersey. Other reforms include raising the minimum age to purchase long gun to 21, banning .50 caliber firearms, regulating school shooting drills and a personalized handgun authorization commission.
“Half of New Jersey’s gun homicides occur in only five cities, and the number of gun crimes in these cities has skyrocketed over the last year,” said Murphy. “We cannot sit back when we know there is more to do to address the danger of gun violence in our communities. By taking the steps we are announcing today, we will further commit to making every block and every street in our state safer.”
“Everyday gun violence is a constant burden and threat to the public health and well-being of our communities. To solve this problem, we need actions that are informed by research and data,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The Gun Safety Package that Governor Murphy has set forth today lays the groundwork for interventions and programs that are designed to save lives and are backed by the necessary funding to help them succeed.”
“The measures that Governor Murphy and partners in the Legislature are unveiling today would give us new tools and resources to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, to combat illegal firearms trafficking, and to expand our violence intervention program,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “These tools are essential to ensuring that New Jersey continues to do all that it can do to combat the continuing plague of gun violence. As New Jersey’s chief law enforcement officer, my message to gun traffickers, distributors, and even manufacturers has been clear from day one: we will hold you accountable when you violate our laws.”
“New Jersey law enforcement is always seeking ways to prevent gun violence before it happens, and the best way to accomplish this goal is through community-driven strategies where law enforcement work hand-in-hand with local government, faith-based leaders, and members of the community to create meaningful intervention programs,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Oftentimes, the greatest obstacle for implementing these strategies is lack of funding and support, which is why today’s announcement is welcome news for a New Jersey law enforcement community that is eager to see its outreach programs realized.”
In partnership with the Legislature, Murphy has already taken steps to combat the epidemic of gun violence. Among other things, New Jersey has established a “red flag” law for gun violence protective orders; criminalized firearms trafficking; strengthened background checks; reduced the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines; banned “ghost guns;” and established the Rutgers Gun Violence Research Center to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis.
“We have long stated that we cannot arrest our way out of gun violence, crime, and the tragedy it creates,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “In Newark, we have realized that this crisis is a public health issue, and continue to address it that way, reducing shootings through prevention. Our state and federal partners and leaders are realizing the same thing, and we are seeing this manifested today by Governor Murphy’s comprehensive gun safety package. It will do much to improve safety, reduce violence, and save lives not only in Newark, but across New Jersey as a whole.”
In New Jersey, almost 80% of guns used in crimes are originally purchased outside of the state. Murphy other stats officials say the gun industry has failed to take any steps to stem the flow of guns to the illegal market through gun shows, flea markets, straw purchasers, and theft. The industry has also failed to make its products safer and has engaged in unscrupulous marketing. A bill recently introduced in the New York Senate would hold gun manufacturers liable for the public harm they cause by amending the state’s public nuisance laws to prohibit the gun industry from endangering the safety or health of the public through its sale, manufacturing, importing or marketing of guns. Governor Murphy proposes similar legislation.
“The Newark Community Street Team applauds Governor Murphy’s proposed investment in complimentary community-based public safety strategies to reducing violence when the state and country is experiencing a public safety and public health crisis,” said Newark Community Street Team Director Aqeela Sherrills. “Reimagining public safety is not just a tag line in Newark, resident trained as public safety professional working in tandem with law enforcement has produced our lowest crime rate in 60 years! Public safety is a shared strategy and can’t be done without the public. Safety is a shared strategy created in communities by the people who live there. I thank Governor Murphy for advocating for investment in community based solutions and employing resident based organization like The Newark Community Street Team to reduce violence and increase wellbeing in the neighborhoods they serve as a direct response to the reimagine public safety narrative.”