Gov. Chris Christie signed a slew of gun control and violence prevention bills into law on Thursday. Among them is legislation that declares violence a "public health crisis." The measure is sponsored in the State Senate by Ray Lesniak and Shirley Turner.

“Violence is a pervasive and destructive force in society that has widespread consequences for all Americans,” said Lesniak. “With the Governor’s signature, New Jersey is taking a serious look at the role of violence in our culture and what we can do to curb its impact on our residents.”

The bill calls for the creation of a commission to look at ways to curb violence and recommend additional steps for gun safety. The panel will include experts on all aspects of violence, including members of domestic violence prevention groups.

“The recent violent wave of crime in Trenton shows why we need to declare it a public health crisis,” said Turner. “I applaud the Governor for recognizing that violence is a serious health crisis, but the discussion cannot end here. Through this commission, we will be better equipped to address future safety concerns and protect the well-being of our citizens.”

The bill is also designed to help the state to seek funding from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help mitigate the crisis. The law takes effect immediately.