MORRISTOWN – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 83, directing the New Jersey Department of Treasury, the Division of Purchase and Property, and the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to promote responsible gun safety practices for gun vendors and financial institutions providing services to the state, and take action against insurance policies that encourage firearm use. This executive order complements comprehensive, commonsense gun safety legislation signed by Governor Murphy, making New Jersey a leader in instituting the strongest gun safety measures in the nation.
"New Jersey has committed to a whole-of-government approach to tackle gun violence," said Governor Murphy. "I have signed comprehensive, commonsense gun safety and gun-violence intervention legislation, and now, under this executive order, my Administration is committed to making our communities safer by aiming to do business with gun dealers that have adopted best practices to reduce gun violence. We want those who do business with New Jersey to share our values and be committed to ending the scourge of gun violence in our communities."
"We need to step up to the plate and do more to protect our communities at all costs by using the power of our purse strings to set an example for others," said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. "The executive order being signed today will ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used wisely to procure goods and services from companies that act responsibly when it comes to firearms and ammunition and to create an opportunity for local and county governments who want to follow our lead."
"Gun violence continues to claim innocent lives at an alarming rate. We cannot allow this to be the new normal," said New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. "The department recently took enforcement action against a company for illegally operating an NRA-sponsored insurance program that encourages firearms use. We are continuing to investigate other firearm-related insurance programs for potential violations of state insurance laws. I want to thank the governor for taking executive action to fight gun violence. As a state, we have a responsibility to act in the best interest of our residents and to ensure that our policies and practices put public safety above all."
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In March 2019, Governor Murphy joined the 'Do Not Stand Idly By' campaign's demand letter seeking information from gun manufacturers on their practices to protect public safety. The goal of the campaign is to significantly reduce firearms-related deaths, injuries, and crimes in the United States and to modernize and stabilize the gun industry. This campaign requires signatories to issue a Request for Information (RFI) during the firearm procurement process to the State's gun vendors. The RFI asks those vendors to outline the policies that they use to enhance and promote firearm safety. Today's executive order builds on this pledge.
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance announced that Lockton Affinity, LLC agreed to pay a $1 million fine as part of a consent order with the department for administering a National Rifle Association-sponsored insurance program in violation of state insurance laws. An investigation by the department found that Kansas-based Lockton Affinity violated various state laws and regulations in administering the Carry Guard insurance program in New Jersey on behalf of the NRA. Offering an insurance product marketed by the NRA that encourages firearm use is a serious violation of public policy and today's executive order takes steps to limit such policies' availability in the State.
The Order is intended to use the state's purchasing and regulatory powers to hold gun manufacturers, retailers, and the financial institutions that provide services to those entities accountable for promoting gun safety principles. Among the directives, Governor Murphy's executive order states:
- The Division of Purchase and Property is to issue a request, within 30 days, to all retail dealers or manufacturers of firearms that currently sell ammunition and/or firearms to the State to ascertain whether vendor practices, where applicable, adhere to the applicable public safety principles related to firearms listed in the order. Upon receipt of information from such retailers and manufacturers, the Division of Purchase and Property shall determine whether and how to ensure that any prospective bid solicitation for ammunition and firearms include a requirement that each vendor, prior to award, certify adherence to public safety principles relating to firearms as defined in this order. The Treasurer is instructed to issue a request, within 30 days, to financial institutions providing services to the Department of Treasury, or any of its divisions, offices or agencies, to disclose whether such institutions have adopted any code of conduct or principles related to gun safety or responsible sales of firearms. The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, within 30 days, is instructed to take all appropriate action within her authority to prohibit and/or limit the sale, procurement, marketing, or distribution of insurance products that may serve to encourage the improper use of firearms.
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The order will take effect immediately.
"The number on purchaser of firearms is taxpayers, so public entities should be able to count on best practices from client businesses on gun safety," said Bill Castner, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Gun Safety. "New Jersey gun dealers overwhelmingly are playing by the rules, but 80 percent of crime guns come from out-of-state. The goal here is to ensure we are not engaging with bad actors and to ask businesses dealing with the state to help ensure minimum standards to reduce the flow of illegal guns to New Jersey."
"Governor Murphy has taken a critically important step today, demanding high -- yet entirely reasonable -- standards of care for the gun dealers and manufacturers that wish to do business with the State," said Kris Brown, President of Brady. "This is exactly the type of leadership that we need in every state, and at the federal level, to fight the American gun violence epidemic. We urge other states and Congress, as well as private companies to follow suit.
"New Jersey has long been a leader in gun violence prevention, and today is no different," said Brett Sabo, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "Holding gun manufacturers and retailers accountable is a critical step for gun safety, and other states should take note. We're grateful to Governor Murphy for his leadership in the movement and courage to do everything in his power to keep our families safe."
For a copy of Executive Order No. 83, click here.
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