In response to the Uvalde, Texas school shooting massacre that left 21 people dead on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy held a noon news conference on Wednesday to call on legislative leaders to put all pending gun legislation up for a vote.

Murphy, who said his heart is broken for the families who are reeling from this “incomprehensible tragedy” expressed outrage and exhaustion from yet another horrific school tragedy, and he called for Garden State lawmakers to immediately pass the Gun Safety 3.0 package of bills first proposed over 1 year ago.

But he also said we should not stop there, calling for pro-gun legislation that normally would not get far in a Democratic-controlled Legislature to get up-and-down votes.

“I further ask the Legislature to immediately put up every bill seeking to unravel our gun laws at the same time,” he said. “Let’s make every legislator choose whose side they have chosen to be on, the people of New Jersey on the one hand, or the gun lobby on the other hand.”

In the face of mass shooting after mass shooting throughout our nation, including the Texas shooting that left young children unrecognizable because their wounds were so severe, he said “let these folks come out from behind their press releases and their tweets and cast votes before the residents of this great state.”

The governor then called out specific GOP lawmakers who have proposed measures to roll back gun safety laws already on the books.

Naming names

“Let the people of New Jersey should 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 Sen. Ed Durr wants,” he said

Murphy then said the people of the Garden State should also see who supports the idea that churchgoers should be able to take their guns to services, a measure proposed by Sen.Mike Doherty.

“Let the people of New Jersey see who votes yes to allowing anyone to carry a concealed gun, as Sen. Durr and Assemblyman Ron Dancer want,” he said.

He also suggested a vote be taken on another measure sponsored by Durr that would repeal the so-called Red Flag law, and allow those known to have made violent threats, including domestic abusers to have access to as many guns as they want.

Will the measures be posted for a vote?

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, through a spokesperson, declined to say whether he will or will not post the gun bills referenced by the governor.

A spokesperson for state Senate President Nick Scutari, D-Union, also declined to say whether the bills will be posted for a vote.

Republicans respond

A statement issued by the State Senate GOP office indicated some of the governor’s comments were false and inaccurate.

The statement says the bill sponsored by Doherty allows houses of worship to select a single trusted person, not everyone to be armed and provide security, and the concealed gun measure put forth by Durr and Dancer would only include people already authorized to have a gun.

The statement says Durr has sponsored a measure to enhance protection of domestic violence victims by giving them priority to get a weapon to protect themselves.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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