Giffords will work closely with the Murphy Administration to combat gun violence as New Jersey takes action to lead the nation and become a laboratory for strong, innovative gun safety efforts.
Washington DC—Today, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to announce a new effort within the Murphy administration to reduce gun violence in the state. Governor Murphy also announced that Bill Castner will join his administration as Senior Advisor on Firearms. With this announcement, New Jersey continues to demonstrate leadership on the issue of gun safety and will establish the first-of-its-kind laboratory for strong, innovative gun safety efforts. Additionally, Giffords will join forces with the Murphy Administration to take on the gun lobby through an unprecedented public-private partnership on impact litigation efforts and urban gun violence measures.
Among other efforts, the partnership will launch a new effort combining the state’s resources with the expertise of the nation’s leading gun litigation coalition to create a powerful litigation force. Giffords Law Center and its partners in the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce (FACT) already work with attorneys at a dozen of the nation’s premier law firms, bringing unprecedented legal resources to the legal fight against gun violence. Leveraging these resources and working with some of the best lawyers in New Jersey will ensure effective enforcement of existing gun laws and enable legal action against the rogue elements of the gun industry that and threaten public safety in the Garden State.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:
“Leadership requires courage and commitment. While running for office, Governor Phil Murphy committed to doing more to protect New Jersey families and communities. We stood by his side then and we are proud to stand with him today as we announce a new effort to address the trauma and tragedy brought on by senseless gun violence. We are excited to partner with Governor Murphy and Bill Castner to make sure New Jersey continues to be a national leader on gun safety. This is a model that will show others how we can take the fight against gun violence to the next level.”
Governor Phil Murphy:
“New Jersey is leading the nation in tackling the epidemic of gun violence that takes innocent lives daily,” “The creation of the States for Gun Safety coalition was only the beginning. Bill Castner will play an active role in enhancing the coalition and will help our administration to advance new common-sense gun measures and potential avenues for legal challenges to stop the scourge of gun violence. Leading the force for gun violence protection to build safer communities and protect families at the state level is of the utmost importance, and I am confident that Bill will generate ideas and solutions that will save lives.”
Bill Castner, Senior Advisor on Firearms for the Murphy Administration
“Governor Murphy has proven himself to be a national leader on the issue of gun safety. Working for the Murphy Administration and in partnership with Giffords creates a unique opportunity for New Jersey. Together we will lead the way by taking on the gun industry through new, aggressive and effective efforts to prevent gun violence.”
This comprehensive report released recently by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, notes that local businesses are severely impacted when gun violence occurs, as shootings keep customers and tourists away and often limit hours of operation. On average, there are 2,014 shootings in New Jersey each year, resulting directly in measurable costs of over $1.2 billion annually. That includes:
Healthcare costs: $93 million
Law enforcement and criminal justice expenses: $131 million
Costs to employers: $8 million
Lost income: $918 million
Much of this tab is picked up by the public. Up to 85 percent of gunshot victims, for example, are either uninsured or on some form of publicly funded insurance. Additionally, law enforcement efforts are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars. As a result, the direct annual cost of gun violence to New Jersey taxpayers is approximately $273 million.
Even more striking, when indirect costs that impact families and communities are factored in, the overall estimate of the economic cost of gun violence rises to $3.3 billion per year.
Giffords is supporting research and programs to fight urban gun violence in order to help save lives and lessen the economic impact of gun violence. Last December, Giffords Law Center, in partnership with PICO National Network and the Community Justice Reform Coalition, released a landmark report, which highlights innovative programs in three states—Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts—that dramatically reduce levels of gun violence in impacted communities.