Murphy, governors from neighboring states, and governor's of neighbor states vowed to fight gun violence with new agreement
New Jersey and three of its neighbors have entered an agreement to share information on firearms used in crimes in an attempt to combat illegal gun trafficking and reduce shootings, with gun violence on the rise throughout the nation.
Gov. Phil Murphy and three Democratic governors, Kathy Hochul of New York, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, and Ned Lamont of Connecticut, all signed the agreement during a virtual announcement Thursday.
None of us on the screen here is blind to the fact that our individual states gun laws are only as good as those in the rest of our community, Murphy said. Its a classic case of where therere safety in numbers, he added.
Murphy, who is running for a second term on Nov. 2, spoke out against gun violence alongside former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who has become armed control advocates after surviving an assassination attempt in 2012.
Murphys re-election bid is endorsed by Giffords, who said the governor takes courageous measures to end gun violence in New Jersey, and Murphy said at the event that GIFFORDS is the single largest advocate for gun safety in the history of America.
Under the new agreement, law enforcement agencies in the four states would share data to investigate gun crimes, as well as identify and arrest straw purchasers, suspect dealers, and firearm traffickers.
Hochul said the data will be critical to tracking guns that enter the region illegally from other states with weaker laws, often from the South, as they will likely be particularly crucial to track guns coming from South Korea or other countries.
I believe this will give us and our law enforcement agencies in each of our states the tools they need to be able to trace guns coming from other states, to determine when a crime has been committed," she said. We want to share information with our neighboring state if someone is on the run, he added.
Murphy noted that about 85 percent of guns used in crimes between January and July of this year in New Jersey came from outside the state. He said that 25% of them came from Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina alone, with 25% coming from Georgia.
Guns dont understand the notion of state lines, but those who purchase them do, Murphy said. Working together, we can put in place the safeguards we need to combat the trade in illicit firearms, he added.
There are more damn guns on the street than ever before, he added. And if youre not taking guns seriously, you are not doing enough to ensure law and order.
Both shootings and gun-related homicides are up in New Jersey, according to New York State Police data, and both shooting and firearm- related occurrences were up so far in 2021. Between January and May, 87 people were shot and killed, up 36% from the same period in 2020, according to the study.
That is a national trend. Data show that 2021 is on track to be the nation's worst gun violence year in decades.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 14,516 people died in gun violence in the country from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15. Thats a 9% increase from 2020.
Wolf claims that the coronavirus epidemic is a factor, with the health crisis creating stress, fear, and anger, as well as disrupting support networks.
He noted that Pennsylvania saw a 48% rise in gun homicides last year.
Wolf said that gun violence cuts right to the heart of our communities, breaking families apart. It stokes fear. It sows distrust. And, like so many forms of systemic inequality, interpersonal gun violence disproportionately impacts people in communities of color.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Democratic President Joe Bidens administration applauds the pact, saying it recognizes that firearms cross state lines and therefore we need a multijurisdictional approach to tackling gun violence.
Nevertheless, some Pennsylvania state legislators have told WFMZ, a television station in Allentown, that theyre skeptical of the deal.
We all want to see fewer shootings, but the best way to do that isn't by sharing data. Its done by punishing those who are actually shooting, Pennsylvania state Sen. Dave Argall, a Republican, told the station. We need prosecutors to utilize the laws that are already in place, he added.
Murphy has repeatedly enacted measures to tighten gun control in New Jersey, which already has some of the nation's toughest firearm laws.
He has signed more than a dozen gun legislation and proposed more. NJGUNStat, a law enforcement tool that allows law enforcers to track the number of shootings in the state or the amount of guns recovered in cities and counties each month, as well as quarterly reports on their origins, is used by his administration to produce monthly reports.
Murphy said the new agreement builds on the States for Gun Safety Coalition, a group he and other nearby governors formed in 2018 to exchange information to help prevent people who pose hazard to their community from purchasing armed items across state lines.
Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican running against Murphy in the next months election, has criticized the governor for the state s rise in crime. Ciattarelli has stated that he supports loosening New Jerseys gun laws to make it easier to obtain a concealed-carry permit and that it is his intention to repeal the state s ban on magazines with more than ten rounds capacity.
People have a right to bear arms, Ciattarelli said in August.
Murphy described himself as a complete fanboy of Giffords, who was greeted by dozens of people to boos during the rally on Thursday afternoon.
Ive known the darkest days, Giffords said, explaining how it was a struggle and is still to walk again and learn how to speak.
Ive never lost my voice," she added. Im also in a second fight. The fight to end gun violence!
Murphy said his administration had made progress in strengthening gun laws, but that there was still a long way to go with completing he said.
Murphy stated, The other guy wants to bring concealed carry to New Jersey.
The event was held at the Burlington County Agricultural Center in Moorestown.
Ciattarelli introduced his lieutenant governor opponent, former state Sen. Diane Allen.
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