Murphy releases tax returns, campaign focuses on gun laws

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

On the day the Murphys released their joint tax return, Phil Murphy was again mostly laying low. Of Thursday’s three events featuring former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and astronaut husband Mark Kelly, Murphy was scheduled to attend only one, leaving lieutenant governor candidate Sheila Oliver to take the lead. The theme? Gun laws.

“We can and we must close the loopholes that allow some gun sales to go through without a background check. We can and must work with neighboring states on comprehensive ways to curb the flow of illegal guns. We can and we must block and outlaw bump stocks in New Jersey,” said Oliver.

New Jersey has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, and, in fact, the state’s overall gun death rate is about half the national rate, but in counties like Essex, Camden and Salem, the rates are much higher. Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 and her husband have become strong advocates for new gun laws. On Thursday, Kelly criticized Kim Guadagno while Giffords served in the role of inspirational leader.

“You know, one day, she’d say that she’ll talk about gun safety another day. Then, the next day, she would close the door to any thought about talking about gun safety, and the day after that, she would often go silent. But after the gun lobby says that they would be open to a discussion about bump stocks, she’s open to a discussion about bump stocks,” said Kelly.

“Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting. Fight. Fight. Fight,” said Giffords.

Murphy was expected to join Giffords at a rally on the issue Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, those tax returns show the couple’s combined income for 2016 was more than $4.6 million. They paid $1.4 million in federal and state taxes.

The Guadagno campaigned called that half a loaf.

“He hasn’t released thousands of pages of his tax returns, which would disclose his worldwide investments, $1.8 million in itemized deductions and other detailed information about his massive fortune,” the campaign said in a statement.

Murphy’s camp said they’ll release more detailed information on investments and deductions Friday, which will be closely examined again as the week with the Democratic campaign comes to a close.