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Gov. Murphy, AG Platkin: Brady report shows New Jersey’s gun laws are working

None of New Jersey’s Firearms Dealers Included on ATF List of Trafficked Crime Guns

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin Monday hailed a new national report from Brady showing that, for two years in a row, none of New Jersey’s firearms dealers were cited by the federal government for selling the most crime guns, a typical indicator of gun violence and gun trafficking.

New Jersey shares this status with just three other states.

“In recent years, we have witnessed nationwide some of the most horrific gun violence incidents in the history of our country. Students going to schools, folks going to the grocery store to stock up on weekly items, churchgoers, and more have all fallen victim to senseless acts of gun violence,” Murphy said. “Since the start of our Administration, it has been our mission to create a safer state for our residents. Over the past couple of years in particular, I have signed several commonsense gun safety bill packages, which has made our state a national model for gun safety. The Brady report is proof that what we’re doing here in New Jersey is working. Our Administration will continue to take the necessary steps to build on this progress and do the work to keep unnecessary weapons out of the hands of bad actors.”

“The report shows that New Jersey is not a common source for firearms used in the commission of crimes, here or elsewhere. This is clear evidence that our strong, commonsense gun policies are not only stopping violence within our own State, they are curbing gun violence in other states,” Platkin said. “Our third-lowest rate of firearm deaths in the United States did not come about by magic or wishful thinking, and I would like to thank Governor Murphy and our dedicated law enforcement partners for the results we see highlighted by Brady today.”

“Our strict approach to firearms regulations is working to reduce gun trafficking, thereby saving lives,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). “Our law enforcement community is proud of the partnership we have here in New Jersey to safeguard our communities and our officers from the scourge of deadly gun violence.”

The analysis, entitled “The Suppliers of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic,” uses data from federal records that identify gun dealers who received requests for gun sale information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) under that agency’s Demand Letter 2 (DL2) program. A dealer meets the criteria to receive a letter from the DL2 program when it has sold a substantial number of guns that were subsequently traced to crimes within a set period, measured as the time between the retail sale and the recovery of the gun by law enforcement (a metric known as “time to crime”).

During the relevant period for the report, the DL2 program focused on dealers who sold 25 guns that were recovered within three years of their initial sale. According to the ATF, this low time-to-crime is a robust indicator of gun trafficking. Only 2% of firearms dealers nationwide — over 1,500 — are subject to the DL2 program.

The report, which is the first of its kind to use DL2 program data, provides a clearer understanding of the current sources of “crime guns.” The definition of crime guns encompasses those that have been recovered by law enforcement after being used in a crime, that are suspected of having been used in a crime, and/or whose possession itself is a crime.

Due to the State’s strong gun safety policies, not one of New Jersey’s 307 in-state firearms dealers received a DL2 in either 2022 or 2023. In addition, ATF statistics show that crime guns sold by New Jersey dealers were associated with the fourth-lowest median time-to-crime — 9.4 years — of any state between 2017 and 2021.

New Jersey’s track record in the study — which looks to in-state sales leading to later gun recoveries anywhere in the country — shows that New Jersey’s gun safety laws not only reduce the rate of gun violence in the State, but also reduce the rate of gun trafficking to other states.

New Jersey’s experience contrasts sharply with that of states with weaker gun sale regulations, which correspond to having dealers in the DL2 program. In fact, the report finds that just 10 states drive interstate gun trafficking activity. From 2017 to 2021, nearly 50% of the traced guns recovered in states other than their origin were sourced from Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Mississippi.

“In this country, gun violence unfortunately does not obey state boundary lines, but with the multilayered approach we use here in New Jersey, we know we are working to reduce these all-too-common tragedies,” said Ravi Ramanathan, the Director of the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement Office (SAFE), a first-in-the-nation office focused on firearms industry accountability established under the leadership of Attorney General Platkin in 2022. SAFE brings civil enforcement actions against firearm companies to hold them accountable for violations of New Jersey law, including its firearms public nuisance legislation.

The actions New Jersey has taken to reduce the public health impact of gun violence include the following:

  • Requiring firearm dealers and their employees to be licensed by the State;
  • Authorizing state inspections of dealers to ensure compliance with the law;
  • Prohibiting dealers from transferring more than one handgun to any person within a 30-day period;
  • Requiring dealers to install comprehensive safety systems to prevent and detect firearm inventory theft;
  • Expediting the submission of ballistics evidence gathered at crime scenes to forensic labs to increase the likelihood of solving gun crimes;
  • Backing a new law imposing first- and second-degree criminal liability on those who purposely commit a firearm trafficking violation and where the illegally trafficked firearm was used to commit a crime resulting in death or significant/serious bodily injury, and issuing a directive to all prosecutors and state and local law enforcement agencies to implement the law;
  • Banning ghost guns; and
  • Establishing a partnership with a coalition that includes the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to share crime gun data among law enforcement agencies.

Other initiatives led by Attorney General Platkin to combat gun violence include the creation of the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) and the expansion of the statewide Gun Violence Reduction Task Force (GVRTF). Among other things, VIVA provides grants and programmatic support for Community-Based and Hospital-Based Violence Intervention programs to support non-profit service providers in the development and implementation of violence intervention programming with a focus on gun violence.

The GVRTF established an intelligence sharing protocol throughout New Jersey’s law enforcement community, inclusive of federal law enforcement partners. Through the GVRTF, law enforcement resources are focused on key violence reduction indicators based on real-time information and data.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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