The Other States Have Something to Learn From New Jersey Leadership in Terms of Gun Violence Prevention
Yesterday in New Jersey Governor Murphy signed 7 new bills making this his 3rd gun safety package since taking office in 2018.
One of the most instrumental parts of the new package is required training for anyone who wants to obtain a gun license in NJ. Ensuring that gun owners have a basic understanding of gun safety will help prevent gun related incidents. Furthermore, this policy allows for a decrease in crimes of impulse because by having people go through training, it slows down the process of obtaining the gun. We take training to operate cars, we take training to operate planes, we take training to operate forklifts. These are all machines- a gun is a machine and should have required safety training as well to ensure safety while operating.
Based on the fact that 83% of gun crimes that occur in our state are from guns that are purchased outside of the state, one of the new laws will require people to register their out-of-state-guns in NJ.About 60% of the guns for which a source state was identified came from just six states: Pennsylvania (15.7%), Virginia (10%), Georgia (11.6%), North Carolina (8.8%), South Carolina (8.2%), and Florida (5.5%). Pennsylvania was the origin of more crime guns used in the Garden State save New Jersey (16.8%) itself. In addition, in Pennsylvania, you do not have to register your firearm. Pennsylvania being the highest makes sense because of geographical accessibility, but this statistic goes to show how this is a national problem and can not only be solved through state legislation, rather a combination of state and federal legislation.
Other parts of the New Jersey package include ban on .50 caliber rifles, requiring microstamping technology, clamping down on ghost guns, regulating handgun ammunition and making it easier to sue gun manufacturers and dealers over gun crimes in the state. An emphasis was placed on the fact that no one’s second amendment rights to bear arms was being taken away, rather just ensure that policies and procedures are in place for the safety of residents in the state of New Jersey.
Governor Murphy said these bills are a great start but he still envisions more for the package, explaining there should be procedures in place that will separate ammunition from the gun itself while in storage in individuals homes. This would be a step in the right direction to ensure that children inside the homes of gun owners remain safe.
Governor Murphy said on Instagram live that there are “No better advocates than moms demand action.” Later praising advocacy further by saying “make your thoughts and passions known.”
Advocacy is demonstrated in a plethora of ways. One way, he explained, this is done is through showing up to vote. The reason these policies are being passed currently is due to who people vote into local, state, federal, and appointees to the Supreme Court. We must continue to advocate fiercely for the sake of the whole nation.
For New Jersey these gun safety policies help the safety of residents in our state, but, since a majority of the gun related crimes occurring in NJ come from guns out of state as previously mentioned, state policies help but to truly ensure safety in ALL states something needs to be done on a federal level.
Governor Murphy shares in the thought that most of us who have been rallying across the nation believe when he says “Congress needs to do a lot more.” It is clear that this fight is far from over.
This package aims to decrease gun violence in the state of New Jersey and we hope that other states will follow suit in ensuring safety in their respective states so that our nation can be safer each day and free from the persisting anxious thoughts and reports of mass shootings.
About The Author: Brittany Macaluso is the policy and advocacy coordinator at the Lesniak Institute and a recent MSW graduate from Columbia University School of Social Work
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