Gov. Phil Murphy attacks lawmakers over inaction on gun safety measures

Gov. Phil Murphy attacked Senate President Nicholas “No-Show-Nick” Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin along with several Republican lawmakers in his call for stricter gun measures.

Following Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, Murphy complained that state lawmakers have failed to take action on a gun-safety legislative package he proposed more than a year ago and charged that legislative leaders have been negligent about shepherding them into law.

In April 2021, Murphy asked lawmakers to pass measures requiring training to purchase a firearm, mandating storage in lockboxes or gun safes, banning weapons of .50 caliber or larger, and raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 for buying shotguns and rifles.

During a news conference about the Texas shooting, Murphy blamed Scutari and Coughlin as legislative leaders for failing to post bills designed to reduce gun violence for a vote.

Despite Democratic legislative majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly, Murphy complained that his gun-safety package remains bottled up in committees.

Senate President Nicholas “No-Show-Nick” Scutari has been negligent about posting Gov. Phil Murphy’s gun-safety package up for a vote.

The Governor challenged lawmakers to put the bills in his gun-safety package up for a vote “so the people of New Jersey can see where every legislator stands on these commonsense measures” and he asked for votes on “every bill seeking to unravel our gun laws,” saying the roll calls would expose several Republican legislators who advocate extreme positions.

“Let the people of New Jersey see who votes ‘yes’ to legalizing hollow-point ‘cop killer’ bullets, as Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio wants,” said Murphy. “Let the people of New Jersey see who votes ‘yes’ to high-capacity ammunition magazines, as Senator Ed Durr wants.”

“Let the people of New Jersey see who votes ‘yes’ to saying that churchgoers should be able to take their guns to services, as Senator Mike Doherty wants,” said Murphy. “Let the people of New Jersey see who votes ‘yes’ to allowing anyone – anyone – to carry a concealed gun, as Senator Durr and Assemblyman Ron Dancer want.”

“Let the people of New Jersey see who votes ‘yes’ to repealing our red-flag law and letting those known to have made violent threats, including domestic abusers, unfettered access to as many guns as they want, as Senator Durr wants,” said Murphy. “Let’s put every gun bill up, so the people of New Jersey can see—in no uncertain terms—who supports common-sense gun safety and who wants New Jersey’s streets and communities to be flooded with guns.”

In a statement issued following the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Scutari said, “I will keep an open mind on any additional actions that will reduce gun violence.”

“This was a barbaric attack and while this story will soon disappear from our headlines like too many others, we cannot see yesterday’s events as anything other than what it was: an aberration that offends the values we stand for as a nation,” said Coughlin. “This should be anything but ordinary.”

Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin has voiced support for but not yet moved legislation that is stalled in committee.
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