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Tri-state governors form ‘States for Gun Safety’ coalition to combat gun violence

NEW YORK — In an effort to combat gun violence, tri-state area governors on Thursday announced the creation of the “States for Gun Safety” coalition as well as a consortium to assess gun violence data.

Tyra Heman, right, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is hugged by Rachael Buto in front of the school where 17 people that were killed on February 14, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Govs. Phil Murphy, of New Jersey; Andrew Cuomo, of New York; Dannel Malloy, of Connecticut; and Gina Raimondo, of Rhode Island, announced the formation of the coalition in a news release, and invited other states across the nation to join.

“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. “However, 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. But, even more importantly, a collective of states can take these steps together to broaden the reach and impact of common sense gun safety laws.”

The coalition will aim to stop the flow of black market guns, better share information between law enforcement on people who potentially pose a threat and work in conjunction on gun safety legislation, the news release states.

State law enforcement agencies will be given details on firearm purchase or permit denials for people who are disqualified, according to the release. People can be disqualified from owning firearms firearms because of an arrest warrant, order of protection, debilitating mental health condition or criminal history, among other reasons.

In addition, the governors will designate institutes of higher education to create the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium, described as the nation’s first.

The consortium will aim to assess gun violence data across disciplines, including criminal justice, public health public policy and social welfare, then use the data to make recommendations for reducing gun violence.

The federal government has largely prohibited funding of gun violence research since 1996, the news release notes.

The announcement comes eight days after 17 people people were fatally shot at a Florida high school.

Since the shooting, Florida lawmakers refused to consider an assault rifle ban and Congress has offered mix responses on what could have stopped the massacre.

President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted he will “be strongly pushing” Congress to pass some gun control measures.

But the governors chose not to act sooner than later.

“Rather than wait for the federal government to come to its senses and pass responsible gun safety legislation,” the governors decided to form the coalition, Cuomo said.

“Not only will this groundbreaking partnership take new steps to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines, but by forming the nation’s first Region Gun Violence Research Consortium, we will be able to better inform policymakers nationwide on how to keep their communities safe,” the New York governor said.