ASBURY PARK – Pointing to more than 500 gun deaths in New Jersey since 2016, Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced actions designed to increase public awareness about the effects of gun violence by providing regular reports to the public on gun crimes and the source states from which these crime guns are flowing. State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan and Acting Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet joined them in announcing the actions at Asbury Park Middle School.
In an Executive Order that asserts a pressing need for residents to have such information, Governor Murphy called on the Department of Law and Public Safety to consider “all reasonable efforts” to make public regular reports of “key information” related to guns used in the commission of crimes in New Jersey.
“Any death due to gun violence is one death too many,” Governor Murphy said. “I am proud to stand with Attorney General Grewal, Colonel Callahan and Acting Commissioner Repollet to announce a new tool that will allow residents to see how gun violence impacts their communities and gain a fuller understanding of how firearms are trafficked into New Jersey from other states.”
At the same time, Attorney General Grewal announced that, in response to the Governor’s call for action, the New Jersey State Police will release monthly reports on gun crimes in the State. Those reports will include the offense committed, the type of gun used, the number of people shot, and the municipality where the offense occurred. That information will be posted on both the Department of Law & Public Safety and New Jersey State Police websites.
“Because the public has the right to know why [gun crime] keeps happening,” Grewal said, both the Department and State Police will also post a quarterly report that identifies the state of origin for every crime gun seized that quarter. As the Attorney General explained, “We are doing everything in our power to combat the scourge of gun violence and we hope our reports lead other states to do the same.”
More than 80 percent of the guns used in crimes committed in New Jersey come from outside the State. In February, seeking to combat the flow of illegal weapons into New Jersey, Attorney General Grewal announced that a state grand jury had returned an indictment charging seven defendants with first-degree racketeering in connection with a ring that was importing to New Jersey black market guns – including assault rifles – purchased in Ohio.
“I agree with Governor Murphy that an important part of protecting New Jersey residents is providing the public with information that helps them understand where gun crimes are taking place, where the guns involved are coming from, and what kind of impact gun violence is having in our communities,” said Attorney General Grewal.
The Executive Order issued today by Governor Murphy laments the “devastating toll” gun violence has taken on New Jersey victims, their families and communities. It also describes New Jersey as a “leader in efforts to reduce gun violence” and vows that the State will continue to be at the forefront of the fight to reduce gun crimes.
In February, Governor Murphy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced the formation of the States for Gun Safety coalition, a multi-state partnership to combat gun violence. The goal of States for Gun Safety is to tackle issues related to the epidemic of gun violence – including stopping the flow of black market guns, more efficiently sharing information among law enforcement on individuals who may pose a violent threat, funding research on gun violence and working on parallel tracks on gun safety legislation. Since its inception, States for Gun Safety has grown to include Massachusetts, Delaware, and Puerto Rico, and now represents over 35 million Americans.
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