Press Release

Giffords Applauds New Jersey Governor for Signing Legislation to Help Bring Safer Firearms to Market

New Jersey’s gun safety 2.0 package includes legislation encouraging the development of personalized firearms

July 16, 2019 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for signing new gun safety legislation, including a bill championed by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that changes New Jersey’s current law on personalized handguns and helps bring safer firearms to market.

“Gun violence is exacting an enormous toll on every American community—claiming tens of thousands of lives every year. If we’re serious about addressing this crisis, we need leaders willing to propose innovative solutions to protect our families and our communities,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of Majority Leader Weinberg, the New Jersey legislature, and Governor Murphy, New Jersey has recommitted itself as a leader in addressing our gun violence epidemic. Their courage to act is a sign of their commitment to protecting the safety of all New Jerseyans.

Gun safety technology includes personalized guns and accessories such as gun safes, trigger locks, and retrofit kits that let owners secure their guns from access by unauthorized users. This package includes a revision to New Jersey’s personalized firearm law that will help bring gun safety technology to market. Personalized guns let owners control who accesses their gun using biometric security methods, such as fingerprint sensors, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses radio waves to identify objects. Personalized accessories, like a fingerprint trigger lock, add an extra layer of security to gun safes or locks. When used with traditional guns, they offer a similar level of security to personalized guns.

“This package of bills goes a long way in ensuring the safety of our residents,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. “I want to thank the Governor for his leadership on firearm safety and for his support of this legislation. In particular, I am happy to see New Jersey taking the lead on the issue of smart guns. I am proud to say that we are fostering a community of safety and responsibility through technological improvements. Guns should be used by their authorized users—not by a curious toddler or a criminal who grabs a police officer’s service weapon. It is my hope that this legislation will reduce the number of accidental shootings and suicides by firearms, and drastically reduce the number of illegally trafficked guns in our state.”

While New Jersey is a nationwide leader in fighting gun violence, a report from Giffords Law Center found the problem still costs New Jersey taxpayers $273 million every year. Still, because of effective policies implemented by state officials New Jersey has a gun death rate half the national average.

Related Resources: 

REPORT: New Jersey Gun Violence Impact Analysis and Policy Audit

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