NJ Politics Digest: States Teaming Up in Effort Against Guns

Gov. Phil Murphy announced New Jersey would be joining with New York and Connecticut to form a regional coalition to fight gun violence.

Gov. Phil Murphy. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The fallout from last week’s school shooting in Florida continued Thursday, with Gov. Phil Murphy announcing the state would be joining with New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut to form a regional coalition to fight gun violence.

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Murphy said the coalition will allow the state’s to address such regional issues as stopping the trafficking of illegal firearms and tracking potentially dangerous individuals while also working together “to broaden the reach and impact of common sense gun safety laws.”

Newly elected Monmouth County State Sen. Vin Gopal announced he plans to introduce a bill banning state pension funds or annuities from investing in companies that manufacture guns. On Thursday Gopal also took to Facebook following the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy in Asbury Park.

“How many more kids need to die? Let’s join the brave kids in Florida and rise up against an industry that just wants to profit off of weak gun laws,” Gopal wrote.

And guns are an issue in the Democratic primary in the state’s Second Congressional District, where state Sen. Jeff Van Drew is catching heat from his opponents and some constituents for votes they see as pro-gun, such as his opposition to a measure to reduce magazine capacity, according to a report in the Inquirer. Van Drew has sponsored a bill to ban bump stocks, and while he accepted a donation from the National Rifle Association 10 years ago, a spokeswoman said he stopped taking donations pro-gun groups years ago, the paper reported.

And protesters showed up outside Congressman Tom MacArthur’s office to call for tougher gun laws, NJ.com reported.

MacArthur opposes an assault weapons ban and was co-sponsor of a measure to require all states to honor concealed carry permits from other venues.

He has called for efforts to place armed guards in schools and other public venues, improve mental health programs and a stronger background check system. But, at the same time, he has also voted for legislation barring the veterans administration from reporting the names of veterans deemed mentally incompetent and overturning a requirement the Social Security Administration report the names of those receiving disability payments for mental disorders so they could be entered into the background check database.

In the past, GOP leaders also tied bills strengthening the background check system to MacArthur’s bill expanding concealed carry regulations.

Quote of the Day: “We cannot wait for Congress or the President to act. As states, we must work together to take the steps and enact measures to protect our residents and our communities.” — Gov. Phil Murphy, following the announcement New Jersey was teaming with New York and Connecticut in a regional gun coalition.

Phil Murphy, Democratic Governors Form Regional Gun Coalition Following Parkland Shooting
New Jersey will join three other states to create a regional gun coalition designed to limit the flow of illegal firearms across state lines, cut down gun crimes and study gun violence in what state leaders called a necessary step in the absence of federal action following mass shootings like the one at a Florida high school last week.
The Record Read more

Bill Would Ban Pension Funds From Investing in Gun Manufacturers
State Sen. Vin Gopal, D–11th District, plans to introduce a bill barring New Jersey public employee pension funds or annuities from investing in gun manufacturer companies.
NJ.com Read more

Monmouth Senator Blames Asbury Park Shooting on Gun Industry
Newly elected state Sen. Vin Gopal blamed the gun industry for the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy before details about the incident were released.
NJ101.5 Read more

Bergmann: Don’t Ignore Neighborhood Gun Violence
Much of the media attention in recent days has been on school shootings and the protests in the aftermath of the Parkland school massacre. And rightly so. But the latest gun violence in Asbury Park, in which a 10-year-old boy was killed and a woman injured Wednesday night, needs to help recenter the debate.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Pro-Gun Democrat Challenged on NRA Contributions, Setting up South Jersey Primary Battle
With moderate Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo retiring after 24 years, New Jersey’s sprawling Second Congressional District is viewed as a likely district to flip from Republican to Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections.
Inquirer Read more

Students help lead gun law protest at N.J. congressman’s office
A crowd of about 200 people gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur’s Burlington County office late Thursday afternoon “in a show of solidarity with Florida teens demanding changes to America’s gun laws.”
NJ.com Read more

N.J. Republican Just Did a Big Switch on Guns After Florida Shooting
Rep. Tom MacArthur, who had a 93 percent favorable rating from the National Rifle Association, has broken with the powerful gun rights lobby and endorsed background checks for all gun purchases in the wake of the Florida high school shooting that claimed 17 lives.
NJ.com Read more

School District Makes Big Security Changes in Wake of Florida Shooting
One week after a shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead, the Kearny school district is implementing new security policies at all seven of its buildings.
NJ.com Read more

Pompton Lakes Schools Ranked Safest in N.J., 4th Safest in US
According to Niche.com the school district is ranked the safest in New Jersey for 2018 and it is the fourth safest district in the entire country.
The Record Read more

Menendez friend, former co-defendant sentenced in Medicare fraud case
Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who along with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez faced a corruption trial last year, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison in a separate Medicare fraud case.
Politico Read more

N.J. Attorney General Creates Office to Deal With Opioid Crisis
New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General has created the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies, or NJ CARES.
NJBiz Read more

N.J. Trooper of the Year Awarded to 2 for Deactivating Terror Attack Bombs
Two New Jersey state troopers will be honored Thursday morning for successfully deactivating two improvised explosive devices after a pipe bomb exploded in a terror attack along a Marine Corps race in Seaside Park in 2016.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Chamber to Honor Governor Byrne at Walk to Washington Event
At the Congressional Dinner on March 1 at its annual Walk to Washington, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce will honor the memory of Gov. Brendan Byrne, who died on Jan. 4. Governor Byrne was a great champion of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. He attended 51 Walks to Washington dating back to the 1950s.
InsiderNJ Read more

From delays to busted seats, bus commuters have a fix-it list for Murphy
Channeling the complaints of many bus commuters, Kara Corridan said she’d like to be treated better, much better during her daily commute.
NJ.com Read more

Inmates and Officers Say N.J. Failed to Stop Sex Abuse Behind Bars
They once wore tan prison uniforms, some convicted of terrible crimes, but now they sat in civilian clothes at microphones in front of New Jersey lawmakers.
NJ.com Read more

N.J. Prison Officials Skipping Public Hearing on Sex Abuse Behind Bars
Gov. Phil Murphy says he is “extremely disturbed” by allegations of widespread sexual abuse at New Jersey’s only women’s prison.
NJ.com Read more

Family Blames Cops for Killing Man Who Wanted Police to Shoot Him
The family of a man who was fatally shot during a standoff with police in 2016 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that law enforcement used excessive force.
NJ101.5 Read more

School Accused Kid of Bullying; Now, Dad’s Taking School to Court
A Metuchen dad says his fifth-grade son is not a bully, and he’s willing to go to court to prove it.
NJ.com Read more

Teterboro Airport Expansion Could Have ‘Unacceptable Impact’ on Meadowlands, EPA Says
The Environmental Protection Agency claims that a project to fill in 11 acres of wetlands and add three hangars to Teterboro Airport could have an unacceptable impact on the Meadowlands.
The Record Read more

‘Residents and Leonia Destinations Only’ to Replace ‘Do Not Enter’ Signs Barring Commuters
The borough council introduced a draft of new traffic signage on Wednesday, proposing a “Residents and Leonia Destinations Only” sign to replace the “Do Not Enter” signs barring non-resident commuters from 60 side streets.
The Record Read more

N.J. Marijuana Legalization: Cannabis Users Urge Middletown to Back Off Weed Ban
The township committee’s gambit to prohibit the local sale and production of legalized marijuana is meant to compel the state to share more of the windfall tax revenue, but it could end up limiting access for people who would benefit from weed, cannabis advocates argue.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Guess Who Hasn’t Been Getting Flu Shots: N.J. Hospital Workers
Any hospital in the Garden State would advise residents to get a flu shot every year, no matter how effective it may be against the current virus strains out in the community.
Some hospitals may want to spend more time promoting that message to their own staff.
NJ101.5 Read more

Editorial: N.J. Students Mobilize Against Gun Violence
No one can deny the courage and gumption shown in recent days by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have stood together, faced down taunts and bravely spoken up to bring greater awareness to the need for greater gun control after seeing 17 people at their school shot and killed by a disturbed former student on Valentine’s Day.
The Record Read more

Editorial: Protect Tax Deal From Political Stunts
Former Gov. Chris Christie pulled a fair number of stunts during his eight years in office. Among the more egregious—which, fortunately, was dropped before being implemented—was a threat to end a long-standing tax reciprocity deal with Pennsylvania that would have meant more money in state coffers, money taken directly from the pockets of lower- and middle-income workers.
Asbury Park Press Read more

NJ Politics Digest: States Teaming Up in Effort Against Guns