Gov. Phil Murphy (299093)
Gov. Phil Murphy Credit: Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office

Gov. Phil Murphy renewed his call for the passage of the comprehensive gun safety legislative package that he initially proposed in 2021. Murphy urged legislators to pass the same package in April 2022, four months after he was joined by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in support of the gun safety bills.

If passed by the Senate and Assembly and signed into law, the bill package discussed today would be the third wide-ranging gun safety package signed by the governor since taking office.

A press conference was held last week attended by educators and gun safety advocates in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting and the Buffalo supermarket shooting.

“From Uvalde to Buffalo, recent tragedies have reaffirmed that, in the absence of substantive reform, no community is immune to the epidemic of gun violence,” said Murphy. “The senseless murders in Texas should fortify our resolve to take action today—to avoid similar horrors not through empty words and promises, but through concrete measures to make every classroom and neighborhood safer. Our children, as well as the teachers who devote their lives to their education and safety, deserve nothing less.”

Among other measures, New Jersey has established a “red flag” law for gun violence protective orders, criminalized firearms trafficking, strengthened background checks, reduced the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines, banned “ghost guns,” established the Gun Violence Research Center to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis, and established a partnership with a coalition of states (Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania) to share crime gun data among law enforcement agencies.

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Texas, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office reportedly increased police presence in schools statewide.

“County prosecutors will direct their municipal police departments to increase law enforcement presence at schools throughout their jurisdictions,” Murphy said on social media. “We will do everything in our power to ensure students, parents, and educators feel safe at school.”

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the ACLU of New Jersey and the Education Law Center responded to Murphy’s decision to increase police presence in schools in response to Tuesday’s tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“It is imperative that New Jersey take action to ensure the safety of students but adding more police to our schools in the wake of this horrific tragedy is not the solution,” said Joe Johnson, policy counsel at the ACLU of New Jersey. “Increased police presence in schools will lead to more students being introduced to the criminal legal system, especially students of color and students with disabilities. We need a comprehensive plan for student safety that provides real support to our students, including restorative justice practices and access to trained mental health professionals.”

Yannick Wood, director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said clarity is needed in response to the tragedies.

“We need to focus and act on the causes of these tragedies, like the availability, on demand, of guns across our country, as well as the lack of access to mental health services. Adding more school security on the backend is not the solution to this problem,” Wood said.

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1 Comment

  1. I am ashamed to be an American living in the Netherlands.
    Plenty of reasons for that sentiment — but the major reason is American Gun Slaughter being justified by the chosen few GOP Cowards who line their pockets with National Rifle Association campaign money and various “favors”.

    There is only one very specific goal in manufacturing automatic weapons and that is being designed to kill, and only kill… these are not target shooting tools. They are military grade killing machines.

    I’ve been a gun owner and hunter since 1964. I am appalled at the small minds in the USA who own such weapons simply because they want one.

    I won’t be visiting my home country any time soon.

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