The governors of four states in the Northeast — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island — have teamed up and formed what they call “States for Gun Safety.”
“In the absence of federal action, New Jersey will be promoting a regional effort to combat gun violence by bringing states together in common cause to safeguard our communities,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Murphy says that the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida accelerated their idea to form the coalition, which has been in the works for about a year.
As young people continue to pressure their state legislatures to address the gun control issue by holding protests, this cross-state task force hopes to address the issue immediately.
The efforts include tracing and intercepting illegal guns. They plan to step up intelligence and information sharing among the states.
“Right now every state has its own information. I have a mental health database with 77,000 names on it. Those 77,000 mentally ill people can’t buy a gun in New York. But they can buy it in New Jersey — that makes no sense,” said NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The task force also plans to collaborate on new gun research, which has been banned by government on federal level for over twenty years.
“Let me be perfectly clear, nothing we are doing here can be a replacement for comprehensive gun safety reform at the federal level, including a ban on military-style weapons, preventing those with mental illness from having access to guns and instituting universal background checks on all gun sales,” said Murphy. “We cannot pull Congress’s feet away from the fire. There must be action in Washington.”
As the gun debate continues to grip the country, President Trump has voiced some solutions on how to prevent more school shootings, including offering bonuses to teachers who undergo gun training.
Filipino American professor Kevin Nadal in NYC says he finds it illogical to expect teachers to arm themselves.
“We know that teachers and other educators are underpaid and overworked, and we are one of the most unappreciated professions in the world. And so with all the stress that we are already under, you are expecting us to get a gun and be trained in using that gun?”
Schools, Nadal says, should not be a place for weapons.
Meanwhile, the four governors hope to convince the other states into joining the coalition at this weekend’s National Governor’s Association meeting.