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Governor Christie Proposes Violence Prevention Plan [VIDEO/AUDIO]

The day after President Barack Obama unveiled his gun control plans, New Jersey Governor Christie announced the creation of the NJ SAFE Task Force.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

The Task Force will be chaired by two former attorneys general of New Jersey, a Democrat and a Republican, with a membership of individuals with expertise in the fields of mental health diagnosis and treatment, addiction services and treatment, gun control and law enforcement, and school safety.

“Violence in our society has never been solely about firearms, and we would miss an opportunity to better prevent heinous crimes if we didn’t look at the complete picture,” says Christie. “If we are truly going to take an honest and candid assessment of violence and public safety, we have to look more deeply at the underlying causes of many acts of violence. That means removing the stigma and evaluating issues of mental health, addiction, prevention and treatment services alongside the effectiveness of our firearms laws, enforcement mechanisms, and our school safety measures.”

The Task Force will convene immediately and will quickly deliver a report containing recommendations for the Governor within 60 days.

Former Attorney General Peter Verniero, Co-Chairman of the NJ SAFE Task Force says, “There may never be a more appropriate time in our state’s history to undertake this kind of review. The intersection of crime, access to firearms, mental health and the impulses that spark extreme acts of violence is ripe for in-depth understanding and appropriate change in our public policy if warranted.”

“As former chief law enforcement officers for New Jersey, we were immersed daily in the issues of guns and drugs and trafficking of both, as well as development, enforcement and prosecution of some of the strictest firearms laws in the nation,” explains former Attorney General John Degnan, Co-Chairman of the NJ SAFE Task Force. “It is time for a full consideration and expansion of our understanding of the causal relationship between acts of gun violence and mental health and treatment that can help us anticipate and prevent tragic results like we saw in Connecticut.”

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver says, “When it comes to mental health services, for instance, the Governor should find a way to implement the outpatient involuntary mental health treatment law I sponsored. Day after day, our streets are less safe because of this failure. The Governor can fix this now, without excuses.”

The Governor says he’d be happy to fund the outpatient program, but there aren’t enough people that want to administer it.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick says, “It is extremely important for us to look at ways to reduce violence in our society. I strongly support the creation of the task force by the Governor. The bipartisan task force consists of members with a range of expertise and philosophical backgrounds, who will examine these issues from every perspective. I look forward to working with the Governor, the SAFE Task Force and the Legislature on bipartisan solutions that will prevent violence and make New Jersey safer.”

Bryan Miller, former and long-time leader of Ceasefire NJ calls the press conference on gun violence by Governor Christie a ‘sham’ and ‘weak as water.’

He explains, “We know strong gun laws work. The fact that New Jersey has both among the strongest sets of gun laws and its lowest per capita rates of gun death is proof. Why would anyone want to avoid making our laws even stronger to save lives? Has the Governor been promised the gun lobby’s support for a Presidential bid if he puts the kabosh on the hopes of the vast majority of New Jerseyans for increased regulation of guns? We don’t know, but such back room agreements are part and parcel of the National Rifle Association’s style and success.”

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Courtesy Governor’s Office

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