Yesterday, President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Connecticut., school shooting. Today, Governor Chris Christie is responding with New Jersey’s plan.

Governor Christie's press conference (Livestream)

“We have a problem with violence in our society and when we force ourselves to look closely it’s not confined to just one thing that causes this,” says Christie. “If we focus just on calling this ‘gun control,’ in my view we’re missing out on the bigger story. We have to look at violence control. Here in New Jersey we already have some of the toughest gun control measures in the country.”

The Governor has created a bi-partisan task force to look at what causes gun violence; mental health issues, addiction, gun laws, school safety and the level of violence in society. He’s given the panel 60 days to come back to him with recommendations.

Governor Christie addresses reporters at a press conference (Livestream)

State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean says, “I am pleased that the Governor has also chosen the deliberative, informed approach being used by the state legislators most directly affected by the massacre at Sandy Hook.  Before we act, we need information so that New Jersey policymakers and lawmakers can make similarly educated decisions.”

“I’m glad to see the governor finally paying attention to this issue after New Jersey saw its highest crime rate increase since 2008,” says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. “That increase came amid the loss of 1,426 municipal police officers, a 6 percent decrease that followed the Governor’s state aid cuts, but we do not need more talk. We need action. 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.”

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