NJ Targets Retailers That Lack Gun Control Measures

TRENTON, N.J. (CN) – New Jersey’s Democratic governor signed an executive order Tuesday morning barring the state government from doing business with firearms manufacturers and dealers that do not adhere to strict gun control measures.

(CNS Photo/Brad Kutner)

Governor Phil Murphy’s four-page order called for gun makers, vendors and financial institutions to stem gun violence by preventing criminal firearms sales to straw purchasers who can’t legally buy guns themselves and use another person to get a hold of them through other means.

“New Jersey has committed to a whole-of-government approach to tackle gun violence,” Murphy said in a statement. “I have signed comprehensive, commonsense gun safety and gun-violence intervention legislation, and now, under this executive order, my administration is committed to making our communities safer by aiming to do business with gun dealers that have adopted best practices to reduce gun violence.”

“We want those who do business with New Jersey to share our values and be committed to ending the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” the governor added.

Murphy’s executive order requires that gun dealers and manufacturers doing business with the state have policies in place to prevent, detect and screen for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers or firearm traffickers.

Authorized gun dealers must prevent sales to people who aren’t allowed to buy them and protect against the theft of firearms and ammunition, the order mandates.

Murphy directed the state’s Division of Purchase and Property to issue a request, within 30 days, to all firearms dealers and manufacturers operating in the state to ascertain whether their vendor practices adhere to those standards.

New Jersey sees an average of 280 gun-related homicides, 184 gun-related suicides, 764 nonfatal shootings, and 599 unintentional shootings per year, according to the order.

Murphy noted that gun violence disproportionately impacted New Jersey’s racial and ethnic minorities and has increased fear and anxiety among the state’s schoolchildren.

The order also notes that gun violence has a significant adverse impact on the state economy, including uncompensated costs and expenses related to health care, law enforcement, security, corrections and the criminal justice system.

The gun safety advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety applauded Murphy’s executive order Tuesday morning.

“With this executive order Governor Murphy is blazing a new path for states that want gun manufacturers, retailers and financial institutions to take action to help end gun violence, and we hope to see other governors quickly follow suit,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Last week we saw retail giants like Walmart, Walgreens and CVS take steps towards gun safety, and this week we’re thrilled to see New Jersey break new ground to hold the gun industry accountable.”

The executive order was signed the same day that 12 Democratic governors sent a letter to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling for action on national gun safety reforms, including so-called red flag laws that prevent people who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

The governors’ letter said the Trump administration and Republican congressional leadership’s refusal to respond to mass shootings with vigor at the national level has left states with an ineffective patchwork of laws.

The letter, led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, also calls on lawmakers to pass universal background checks, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and establish stricter reporting requirements to prevent those deemed to be dangerous from purchasing a firearm.

Cuomo was joined by the governors of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington state.

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