Governor’s Signature Showcases the Trailblazing Effort by New Jersey to Prevent Gun Violence
June 13, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, commended New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey legislature for enacting historic gun violence prevention laws. With Governor’s Murphy signature, New Jersey becomes the 25th state since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to enact stronger gun safety measures. The comprehensive gun violence prevention package brings the total number of bills signed into law in states across the country since the February 14 shooting to 50.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“Americans have called on politicians to find the courage to protect our children and stop dangerous people from getting a gun. Today, New Jersey joins a growing number of states who have listened to the demands of voters for laws that will help save lives. From day one, Governor Murphy has never backed down from understanding the severity of the gun violence crisis nor from his commitment to do something to protect his state. Today, he and the New Jersey legislature proved that the passage of strong, effective legislation is challenging, but when lives are at stake, you can find courage to get the job done.”
New Jersey’s gun safety package is part of Governor Murphy’s continued effort to improve the state’s response to the nation’s gun violence crisis. Giffords has been at the forefront of this fight; over the past few years, Giffords has held educational events with stakeholders and advocates from across the state in support of bipartisan domestic violence legislation, and Extreme Risk Protection Order policies. Last month, Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly met with Governor Murphy and Bill Castner, senior advisor to the governor on firearms, to announce a partnership on impact litigation and urban gun violence. Yesterday Governor Murphy and Attorney General Grewal Giffords announced their plan to crack down on ghost guns, a project with the Giffords Law Center and the FACT Coalition. Earlier this year, Giffords staff joined Governor Murphy at a roundtable event on gun violence prevention in New Jersey.
The full list of bills signed by Governor Murphy today is:
- Establishing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO): A 1217 establishes a judicial process to acquire an order of protection so that an individual in crisis would be temporarily prohibited from firearm possession. New Jersey joins other states that have passed ERPO bills backed by Giffords, and becomes the seventh state to pass the legislation since the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida.
- Closing Background Check Loopholes: A 2757 requires private sales of firearms to be processed through a dealer. There is no gap more glaring in our gun laws than the federal background checks law, which allows felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill to purchase firearms at gun shows and online without undergoing a background check. In states that require background checks for all handgun sales 47% fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, there are 47% fewer firearm suicides, and 53% fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death by handguns.
- A 2761: This bill reduces magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
- A 2758: This bill codifies the requirements to meet the justifiable need standard for CCW applications.
- A 2759: This bill prohibits possession of ammunition capable of penetrating body armor.
- A 1181: This bill creates a non-standard risk-based firearm removal law based on a risk a person poses due to mental illness.
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.