Governor Phil Murphy today joined Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle to promote gun safety following an incident last week where a man armed with a .45-caliber handgun loaded with hollow point bullets and 130 rounds of ammunition was arrested outside of Westfield’s Tamaques Elementary School. The Governor urged the Senate President to act on a package of gun safety bills aimed at strengthening New Jersey’s gun laws and preventing gun violence.
In October 2018, Governor Murphy was joined by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald to call for major gun safety reforms and put forward a four-part plan to address critical areas in relation to gun safety. Those areas include closing loopholes to make it easier to go after gun traffickers, regulating and tracking the sale of ammunition, promoting the development and commercialization of “smart gun” technology, and investing in community-based non-violence and gun violence prevention programs. A comprehensive package of thirteen bills to address these issues was introduced in the Legislature; however, the Senate is working to advance only eight of these bills that will address trafficking, “smart guns,” and violence intervention.
“Our partners in the Assembly stand ready to pass all of these bills, with a commitment to look to even more reforms to end the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” said Governor Murphy. “I urge the Senate President to advance the Legislature’s gun safety package in its entirety. The time for a bold and comprehensive strategy is now, and I urge our legislative leaders to work together to significantly reduce gun violence in our communities.”
Governor Murphy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget calls for an increase to fees for gun licenses and handgun permits. New Jersey’s gun licensing fees have not been raised since 1966 and the Legislature’s newly proposed budget does not include any increase.
“The victims of gun violence get younger and younger every year, so we must act aggressively to better protect New Jersey’s children and families and prevent the next shooting,” said Lt. Governor Oliver. “The Legislature must pass every sensible measure possible to end the violence that is crippling so many of our communities. The time to act on comprehensive gun reform is now.”
“Public safety is a fundamental function of government,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg. “Gun violence is a national crisis but it would be senseless for us to imagine any reasonable action will be taken at the federal level. I hope New Jersey continues to address the issue with the seriousness it demands and that we do everything we can within our borders to keep New Jerseyans safe.”
“We cannot sit back and wait for tragedy to occur before imposing common sense safeguards on the sale of lethal ammunition,” said Bill Castner, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Gun Safety. “I applaud Speaker Coughlin and Majority Leaders Weinberg and Greenwald for supporting this reform and the 2.0 gun violence prevention package in its entirety — we are hopeful the Senate President will do the same.”
“I’m proud to live in New Jersey, a state whose Governor is leading the way towards a solution for this growing epidemic, that includes focusing not just on sensible gun laws, but also on the mental health of those who have them — especially for teen suicide prevention,” said Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle.