New Jersey gets high marks for gun safety in a new ranking of states by San Francisco-based Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The center released its "Annual Gun Law Scorecard," which grades and ranks each state on the strength of its gun laws.

Center attorney Mike McLively says New Jersey has the fifth-lowest gun death rate per capita in the United States.

"New Jersey is definitely one of the leading states in the country, along with California, New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii," he said. "There is a small handful of states that have really taken a lot of really important steps to regulate guns and address gun violence."

He says that's because of universal background checks and the need for a purchase permit for a handgun or rifle.

"Anyone who wants to obtain a handgun or a long gun has to go through a permitting process where they get a background check. And the state, in that way, is helping to insure that people with a violent felony on their record, for example, cannot just easily go and purchase a gun. There is a whole slew of things that New Jersey does that many, many states are not doing."

Mclively says New Jersey's A-minus rating is good, but we could still get better.

"Regulating 'junk guns' is one. These are firearms that are poorly manufactured, they cost less, they tend to misfire or not function. And New Jersey currently does not have any laws in place that would regulate the sale of junk guns, which just makes it a little bit easier or cheaper for guns to flood the streets.

"The other I would say is investing more directly and strategically in violence intervention programs."

Twenty-five states, including Florida, received an "F" for their lack of gun safety regs.

"In the wake of Parkland, everyone is searching for answers and wondering what they can do. I think that New Jersey is really a leader in the country, and the people of New Jersey should be proud of what their government has done."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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