Gov. Murphy continued his ‘listener-in-chief’ tour Tuesday in Cherry Hill with a roundtable on gun safety and gun control, surrounded by advocates from around the state and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. His predecessor’s rightward political shift, from the environment to women’s health funding, has left the governor plenty of room to spend his early days undoing the Christie agenda. Guns are just the latest example.
“I look forward progressively working with the majority leader and his colleagues on things such as enacting critical magazine capacity laws, protecting our handgun carry regulations as I mentioned, prohibiting the possession of armor-piercing ammunition, making us a leader in adoption of smart gun technology and sales and undertaking a statewide study of gun violence as a public health matter,” said Gov. Murphy.
It’s a full slate of changes to the nation’s toughest gun laws, many of which were already approved by the Legislature, only to be shot down by Gov. Christie’s veto pen, so this is easy pickings for Murphy. Still, supporters say the changes are much needed as mass shootings become more common every year.
“In just February of 2018, there have been nine deaths in New Jersey due to gun violence,” noted Greenwald. “We have seen an increase in the last decade, year over year, in what are considered mass shootings, which are the deaths of two or more individuals. The ones that get the greatest attention are clearly those that we’ve seen on the news.”
But even as gun murders are down in New Jersey’s biggest cities, gun violence is up, and lawmakers say they can still do more to keep guns off the streets and make sure that even registered guns are not allowed to become tools of mass destruction.
“There were 42 shootings in New Jersey sourced to a single Ohio gun dealer last year. So, you can see, we know who they are, we just have to be able to do something about them.” said New Jersey Million Mom March President Carole Stiller.
Gun safety advocate Brian McGinnis says lawmakers can do more on gun magazine capacity, for instance.
“We know in Tuscon six people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded,” he said. “We know that the shooter had a 33-round magazine in his gun. We know that he was only stopped because he dropped his magazine when he tried to reload, and he was fortunately tackled by someone in the the crowd.”
Murphy says he’s ready to sign bills on magazine capacity, background checks and concealed carry, all popular with this crowd Tuesday, which, as far as anyone could tell, did not include a dissenting voice, or any questions from the press for that matter, neither of which are especially present in these earliest days of the Murphy administration.