Press Release

Giffords Applauds New Jersey State Legislature for Announcing New Package of Gun Safety Bills to Help Save Lives

Package includes comprehensive legislation that will provide funding for evidence-based programs that will prevent urban gun violence

Legislation to revise New Jersey’s gun safety technology law will help bring the technology to market

October 29, 2018—In the wake of a shooting where 11 people died at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Governor Phil Murphy, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald for announcing a new package of legislation to reduce gun violence in the Garden State. The new initiative will include measures Giffords Law Center is working on with Majority Leader Lou Greenwald to fund evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs that will reduce gun violence in New Jersey’s most impacted communities.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s bill to revise the New Jersey law on gun safety technology is also included in the package. Earlier this year, Representative Giffords and Captain Kelly joined Governor Phil Murphy to announce a new effort within the Murphy Administration to reduce New Jersey gun violence.

“Last week a gunman brought tragedy to another house of worship and reminded us how easy it is for people fueled by hate to cause violence in our country,” said Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords. “Gun violence is a crisis that requires action. Leaders in New Jersey continue to recognize this and today have stepped up with several innovative measures that will reduce gun violence in the Garden State’s most impacted communities and help bring gun safety technology to the market. We would like to thank Governor Murphy, Majority Leader Weinberg, and Majority Leader Greenwald for their continued courage and commitment to fight to save lives.”

“If you look at the numbers, gun violence in New Jersey is driven by day-to-day shootings on our streets that don’t make national headlines,” said Mike McLively, director of the Urban Gun Violence Initiative at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s shocking to think that 90% of victims of gun violence in New Jersey are Black or Latino, and this violence is extremely concentrated in underserved communities. In fact, just 5 cities account for more than half of total homicides. The good news is that effective solutions exist to intervene with this cycle of violence, they just need to be implemented and brought to scale. The handful of states already making this investment, including New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, are seeing impressive results–saving both lives and taxpayer dollars. We applaud Governor Murphy and Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald for strategically directing critical resources to the state’s most impacted communities.”   

“This weekend a gunman targeted a Jewish community in Pittsburgh, took 11 lives, and wounded brave police officers who put themselves in danger in the line of duty,” said Governor Phil Murphy.  “Closer to home, a 17-year-old high school student was shot to death in front of her friends in Jersey City as gun violence continues to have a punishing effect in our cities. We cannot allow for these actions to continue to be commonplace. By supporting legislation that takes steps in that direction, New Jersey and the nation can become meaningfully safer. I thank both Senate Majority Leader Weinberg and Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald for their unwavering commitment to addressing the gun violence epidemic.”

“Gun violence exposes trauma, significant costs, and lifelong health impairments to those afflicted, our communities, and our state,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. “Evidence-based violence intervention programs can save lives and reduce community costs, as we have seen across the nation. Providing these support systems to New Jerseyans is essential to our comprehensive response to gun violence.”

Related Resources:

REPORT: New Jersey Gun Violence Impact Analysis and Policy Audit

REPORT: Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence

REPORT: Economic Cost of Gun Violence in New Jersey

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 in directly 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% 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.

REPORT: Securing a Safer Future: How Incentives for Gun Safety Technology Can Stop Shootings