U.S. states form coalition to combat gun violence

Frederick Owens
February 23, 2018

After the Parkland school shooting, many people are wondering whether elected officials will take action on gun control.

Amid federal inaction on gun control, the Democratic governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey have formed a multi-state coalition to better share information and pool resources to combat gun violence.

The governors of four East Coast states said today they will not wait for federal action to deal with the nation's epidemic of gun violence.

"We can't wait for the federal government to act", said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

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"My daughter kept asking me, as she has for the past week, 'Mom, what are you going to do about it?'" said Gov. Raimondo. "Not only will this groundbreaking partnership take new steps to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines, but by forming the nation's first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium, we will be able to better inform policymakers nationwide on how to keep their communities safe". "We need Congress to act but in the meantime, there are concrete things we can do to protect our families". "I mean, if we can work with other states, that's good", Trillo said. Cuomo said sarcastically. "All it does is bring more money to gun manufacturers, and the NRA more money". The multistate database will supplement the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System that's used to trace guns that are used in crimes. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that shooting accelerated the governors' idea to form the coalition, which has been in the works for about a year. Rhode Island's Governor says she watched yesterday's protests with her 13 year-old daughter.

The four states will also designate institutions of higher education to partner and create the nation's first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium.

The group's research will be aimed at filling the gap created by the federal government's "ban" on the use of federal funds to study the causes of gun violence as a public health issue, according to the memo. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement from the coalition states also will share information - for example, about individuals disqualified from possessing a firearm.

Despite the passage of gun safety laws restricting the purchase and carry of firearms across the four states, the lack of federal regulations preventing individuals from purchasing guns in other states and transporting them across borders has undermined state legislation. In a tweet he said he would be "strongly pushing" comprehensive background checks, with an emphasis on mental health, and supported raising the age to buy rifles to 21 and banning so-called "bump stocks", which allow semi-automatic guns to fire at near-automatic speeds.

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