New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Islandannounced the formation of the "States for Gun Safety" coalition, a new multi-state partnership to combat gun violence, and invited other states from across the nation to join the new effort.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo in unveiling the interstate initiative Thursday morning which will pool resources in an effort to combat gun violence.
The resources that will be shared among the states include research, law enforcement and intel.
The governors said states will be able to tackle issues related gun violence – including stopping the flow of black market guns, sharing information among law enforcement on individuals who may pose a violent threat and working on parallel tracks on gun safety legislation – while they wait for Congress and the President to take federal action.
"Gun violence is not a New Jersey problem, a New York problem, a Connecticut problem, a Rhode Island problem, or a problem for any particular state or region – it is a national problem,” Murphy said in a statement.
Under the "States for Gun Safety" coalition, the four states will create a multi-state task force to trace and intercept illegal guns in the region. They will also work together to gather information, while sharing information and response efforts related to gun violence. Participating states will also leverage collective investigative resources in order to determine coordinated plans for gun violence responses.
Cuomo said in a statement that rather than wait for the federal government to respond, the states decided "to take matters into our own hands."
Raimondo said in a statement that through the initiative they will "strengthen our gun laws and combat gun violence," while Malloy echoed similar sentiments saying that they cannot sit back and let guns into the hands of those who should not have them.
Participating states will also share information about individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm within each state.
The governors also announced that their states will designate institutes of higher education to create the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium to assess gun violence data across disciplines like criminal justice, public health, public policy, and social welfare. The federal government has largely been prohibited from funding gun violence research since 1996.
The announcement comes a little more than a week after the most recent mass shooting that took place Feb. 14 when Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17, according to authorities.
Cruz was a former student at the school who had a string of run-ins with school authorities that ended with his expulsion, authorities say.
Following the shooting Murphy, a Democrat, said he was “staggered” at the news and said New Jersey would join “like-minded” states to come up with regional solutions.
Murphy has repeatedly called for enacting what he calls common sense gun safety measures. He head a round-table talk earlier this month on gun legislation.
In January, Murphy announced that he was rescinding a Chris Christie-era rule that made it easier for residents to acquire carry permits for handguns.
Following the shooting, Cuomo said in a statement that the fatal incident is “another painful and infuriating reminder of the inaction in Washington,” when it comes to gun safety laws.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, New York passed the strongest gun safety legislation in the nation, Cuomo said, adding that “it’s far past time that the rest of the nation follows suit.”