Governor Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan today announced actions designed to increase public awareness about the causes of gun violence in New Jersey by releasing reports on the manufacturers of crime guns found in the state.
Last year, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 21, which calls for publication of information related to guns used in the commission of crimes statewide. Since then, the Department of Law & Public Safety and the New Jersey State Police have been releasing monthly GUNStat Reports on the number of guns recovered by county and city, the type and caliber of gun, and a breakdown of shooting victims, as well as quarterly reports on the source state of the guns. The latter reports have confirmed that approximately 80 percent of crime guns in New Jersey come from out of state.
In addition to type and caliber of gun, the monthly GUNStat Reports will now include the number of guns recovered by each manufacturer. This reporting seeks to spur reforms by firearms manufacturers to ensure that their weapons are not used in crime. The information will be posted on the Department of Law & Public Safety and State Police websites.
“Over the past year, we have been working with the State Police to release GUNStat reports, showing where firearms used in crimes in our state come from,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Our next step is to show which firearms manufacturers’ weapons are endangering our streets. It is my hope that bringing light to this topic will encourage these manufacturers to act responsibly and work with us to stop weapons they make from ending up in the hands of dangerous criminals. We must continue working to end the scourge of gun violence in our communities.”
“The public deserves to know more about the sources of guns in our state,” said Attorney General Grewal. “That’s why I’m proud to work the New Jersey State Police to show the links between manufacturers and crime guns. Firearms manufacturers have a real role to play in keeping us all safe, and in light of these reports, I call on them to put into place strong measures against straw purchasing and to invest in technologies that will make their products safer. New Jersey residents deserve nothing less.”
“Collaboration across the state between and among the law enforcement community to share information on prolific, violent, recidivist, inter-jurisdictional offenders, those members of our society involved in shootings, are driving shootings down,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Just as with these GUNStat reports, people, process and technology generate the intelligence used to drive these collaborations.”
Additionally, Governor Murphy today joined the ‘Do Not Stand Idly By’ Campaign’s demand letter seeking information from gun manufacturers on their practices to protect public safety. The goal of the campaign is to significantly reduce firearms related deaths, injuries and crimes in the United States and to modernize and stabilize the gun industry.
Today’s announcement builds on Administration-wide efforts to combat gun violence in New Jersey. Last year, Governor Murphy signed into law seven bills designed to protect New Jersey residents from gun violence, including restrictions on ghost guns and large-capacity magazines. Governor Murphy also announced the creation of the States for Gun Safety coalition, a multi-state partnership to combat gun violence.
In October, Governor Murphy recommitted to combatting the epidemic of gun violence. He remains committed to working with the Legislature to address the following critical areas:
- Anti-Gun Trafficking: New Jersey currently does not have a specific law criminalizing all aspects of gun trafficking and straw purchasing. Governor Murphy believes that New Jersey needs to make it illegal for anyone who is disqualified from owning a gun to purchase or sell a firearm and to expand our laws to make it easier to prosecute illegal gun trafficking.
- Investing in Smart Gun Technology: The gun industry has deliberately stopped progress on smart gun research. The prior administration vetoed efforts by Senate Majority Leader Weinberg that would have allowed this progress to continue. Once smart guns are commercially available, every New Jersey gun retailer will need to carry at least one smart gun—technology that saves lives.
- Regulating Ammunition: New Jersey’s State Commission of Investigation recently issued a report exposing loopholes in New Jersey’s regulation of ammunition. Governor Murphy believes that New Jersey should require photo identification to purchase ammunition, require ammunition retailers to report sales to the State Police, and criminalize the purchase of ammunition by individuals convicted of serious crimes.
- Promoting Violence Intervention Programs: Governor Murphy believes in Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald’s efforts to establish grants to help targeted cities provide coordinated, evidence-based violence intervention strategies for at-risk individuals. Giffords Law Center’s Investing in Intervention report identifies best practices used by states that have reduced gun homicide rates in urban areas.
Similarly, Attorney General Grewal last year filed a lawsuit against a company seeking to distribute computer code to allow for the printing of 3D guns, and challenged the ghost gun industry for its sales into the state. Attorney General Grewal also issued a directive requiring state and local law enforcement to share their crime gun intelligence with each other. In addition, the Department of Law & Public Safety announced a multi-agency law enforcement operation to arrest 166 fugitives and seize 11 firearms (Operation Summer in the City, in July 2018) and indicted a firearms trafficking ring from Ohio (in February 2018).
As Attorney General Grewal has noted, these efforts make a difference: “six-month data for 2018 shows a decline of 24 percent in shooting ‘hit’ victims in New Jersey compared to the same period in 2017, and a 23 percent decline in shooting murder victims.”
To view the most recent GUNStat report, visit www.njsp.org/njgunstat.