June 17, 2018— Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, responded to an early morning shooting at an arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey. So far 20 people are reported to have been injured while one suspect was taken into custody and another was killed.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“Friday night Americans from different backgrounds and communities came together on Chicago’s South Side to march for one shared dream: to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic. This morning, when we should be celebrating Father’s Day, we woke up to the horrific news of a shooting in Trenton, New Jersey. This must end. People who are gathering to celebrate creativity should not have to worry about getting shot. That’s not the country we want to live in. To make lasting change that will address our public safety challenges, we need to elect leaders who understand the severity of this threat and that Congress continues to fail when it comes to something that is basic moral responsibility: keeping us safe. This terrible event reminds us that we need to maintain the spirit we saw in Chicago and march toward November so we have champions in Congress with the courage to stand up to an entrenched gun lobby and pass laws that can save lives.”
Last week, New Jersey passed a gun safety package that 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 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.