Gov. Phil Murphy announced the expansion of the NJGunStat reports Tuesday during a news conference in Jersey City where he said publicizing those companies who make the guns was intended to encourage them to do more to improve safety.
JERSEY CITY — Gov. Phil Murphy is expanding his administration’s effort to name and shame states where guns used in New Jersey crimes come from to include gun manufacturers.
Murphy announced the expansion of the NJGunStat reports Tuesday during a news conference in Jersey City, where he said publicizing those companies who make the guns was intended to encourage them to do more to improve safety.
“We cannot just name and shame those states whose lax laws allow weapons to flow freely across state lines. We must also wake up the manufacturers,” Murphy said.
The New Jersey State Police has published monthly and quarterly reports about gun offenses since January 2018 at the direction of Murphy, who has made improving the state’s gun laws one of his top priorities.
The reports have included information on the caliber of guns recovered from crimes, the counties and cities where the gun crimes happened, and the states where guns recovered from crimes were purchased.
The manufacturer data was released Tuesday in a chart showing the number of guns from each major manufacturer recovered from New Jersey crimes to date this year. The chart indicated Smith and Wesson was the manufacturer of 49 firearms recovered from crimes, followed by Taurus, with 37 recovered guns; Glock, with 23 guns recovered; and Ruger, with 20. The other companies shown on the chart were Hi Point, 13 guns; Harrington and Richardson, seven guns; Springfield, five guns; SCCY Industries, five guns; Colt, five guns and Raven, Lorcin, Keltec and Kahr, with four guns recovered.
“Just like we turned up the heat on source states, we’re now turning up the heat on gun manufacturers,” added Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who participated in the news conference with Murphy and Col. Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Murphy said naming manufacturers and the states where guns used in crimes were sold was intended to encourage those states to enact tougher gun laws and for manufacturers to take greater responsibility for ensuring their products aren’t misused or trafficked.
“Surely it won’t be good publicity for them to know they make the guns popularly trafficked by criminals,” Murphy said. “Perhaps finally we can enlist them to help us change our laws to clamp down on gun trafficking.”
The governor noted that 80 percent of the guns used in New Jersey crimes last year were traced to gun purchases outside the state, mostly from Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
He also said the statistics show that gun violence and crimes occur across the state and are not just limited to inner cities. According to the most recent batch of monthly stats, 17 guns were recovered from crimes in Burlington County last month, the sixth highest total of the 21 counties. Six of the guns recovered came from crimes in suburban Willingboro, placing it among the top 10 locations where crime guns were recovered with the likes of Newark, Camden, Trenton, Paterson, Jersey City, Atlantic City and Bayonne.
In order to continue combating gun crimes, Murphy has called on lawmakers to approve new gun bills, including bills to require photo identification to purchase ammunition, for retailers to report ammunition sales, and another to encourage the development of so-called “smart guns” that can only be fired by their registered owners.
The governor also touted proposed fee increases for New Jersey gun permits and licenses that were part of his proposed 2020 fiscal year state budget. He said those fees haven’t been altered for 53 years.
“A lot has changed in New Jersey in 53 years. We’re changing our gun laws. It’s well past time we change our gun fees too,” he said.