Trenton - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo today announced the formation of the States for Gun Safety coalition, a new multi-state partnership to combat gun violence, and invited other states from across the nation to join the new effort.
By working cooperatively, Murphy, Cuomo, Malloy, and Raimondo said states will be able 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, and working on parallel tracks on gun safety legislation – while they wait for Congress and the President to take federal action.
“Gun violence is not a New Jersey problem, a New York problem, a Connecticut problem, a Rhode Island problem, or a problem for any particular state or region – it is a national problem,” said Governor Murphy. “However, we cannot wait for Congress or the President to act. As states, we must work together to take the steps and enact measures to protect our residents and our communities. But, even more importantly, a collective of states can take these steps together to broaden the reach and impact of common sense gun safety laws.”
“Here in New York, we’re proud to be home to the nation’s strongest gun safety law. However, the federal government’s continued inaction on this issue has not only allowed the epidemic of gun violence to spread, but it has actually prevented the laws like the SAFE Act from being fully effective,” Governor Cuomo said. “Rather than wait for the federal government to come to its senses and pass responsible gun safety legislation, New York is joining with New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to take matters into our own hands. Not only will this groundbreaking partnership take new steps to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines, but by forming the nation’s first Region Gun Violence Research Consortium, we will be able to better inform policymakers nationwide on how to keep their communities safe.”
“We refuse to allow federal inaction to enact commonsense, gun safety laws endanger the lives of our residents,” Governor Malloy said. “Despite the best efforts of powerful lobbyists from special interest groups, we will work together as a coalition of states to keep our communities safe. We cannot sit back and let guns get into the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, and we cannot simply watch almost daily tragedy occur. One thing remains clear: we would be better off if every state and the federal government enacted sensible gun safety rules. We will not wait for Washington to act – the time for action is now.”
“Rhode Island has some of the nation’s strongest gun laws, but our nation has some of the world’s weakest. Kids in Florida and across the nation are taking action, and it’s not a surprise: We’ve forced them to lead because for years elected officials in Washington have refused to,” said Governor Raimondo. “We will stand up with our students and with parents to strengthen our gun laws and combat gun violence.”
Under the States for Gun Safety coalition, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island will create a multi-state task force to trace and intercept illegal guns in the region. The states will also work in cooperation to enhance intelligence gathering, information sharing, and response efforts related to gun violence. Participating states will leverage collective investigative resources in order to determine comprehensive, coordinated plans for gun violence responses.
Additionally, participating states will share information about individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm within each state. The current lack of information-sharing between the four states has prevented state law enforcement agencies from knowing if an individual has attempted to purchase or permit a weapon in a neighboring state. The agreement, in accordance with federal and state privacy protections, will provide state law enforcement agencies with details on the firearm purchase or permit denials for those who are disqualified. People may be disqualified from owning a firearm for several reasons, including an arrest warrant, order of protection, debilitating mental health condition, or criminal history.
The Governors also announced that New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island will designate institutes of higher education to create the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium to assess gun violence data across disciplines including criminal justice, public health, public policy, and social welfare. The consortium will use collected data to produce recommendations for reducing gun violence. The federal government has largely been prohibited from funding gun violence research since 1996.
Text of the Multi-State Memorandum of Understanding is online.