NJ lawmakers discuss how to end gun violence epidemic

Antionette Lee
May 28, 2019 - 8:15 pm
Governor Murphy, Lt Gov Oliver, and urban mayors discuss gun violence prevention on May 28, 2019 in Trenton.

Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor's Office via Flickr

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After two mass shootings in Trenton over the weekend, New Jersey lawmakers and community leaders gathered at the statehouse to discuss gun violence prevention. 

The roundtable led by Gov. Phil Murphy was joined by mayors from Newark, Paterson, and Trenton. 

Murphy started off by applauding the latest efforts to combat the epidemic. A recent partnership with the gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady helped launch the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University.

"Through the New Jersey gun state reporting initiative, we now know that in just the first three months of this year, more than 80% of the crime guns used in New Jersey came from out of state. The overwhelming majority float into New Jersey along the I-95 or so called iron pipeline from states with weaker gun laws and regulations," he said.

Murphy says with the warm weather here, the goal is to ensure a safe summer with nonviolence strategies that help get to the root of the problem.

"We've gone from naming and shaming states that contribute illegal guns. We've now begun to name and shame manufacturers. And now this is going to be a focus on dealers," he said.  

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Other leaders like New Jersey Sen. Shirley Turner pointed to the lack of resources that add to the major crime problem. 

"In the city of Trenton, because of a lack of resources we had to close four libraries. We had a library in each ward. Now we have one main library. So it's easier for a kid to pick up a gun than to pick up a book. These are things we're facing, but we know we cannot arrest our way out of it and we cannot just pray our way out of it," Turner said. 

Murphy ended the discussion by stating the gun violence agenda would be a "regular drumbeat." 

"It can't just be this or that. It's going to have to be a whole symphony of actions that we take in these communities," the governor said.