New Jersey enacts 3 gun violence intervention laws

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey on Monday enacted three laws designed to help victims of gun violence avoid becoming hurt again by firearms or seeking out retaliation.

The new laws add to New Jersey's growing list of at least 10 gun-related laws enacted in the last year and come after weekend firearm attacks in Texas and Ohio left 31 dead. But the new legislation's co-author, Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, said the timing of the enactments is purely a "tragic" coincidence.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver signed the measures Monday at the governor's office while Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is out of the state on vacation.

One measure requires the Health Department to establish a violence intervention plan to lower the risk of re-injury or retaliatory violence.

Greenwald said in an interview that lawmakers looked at similar programs in Baltimore and at the state level in Massachusetts. He says lawmakers reviewed studies that showed victims of gun violence face greater risks of becoming victims again or seeking out retaliation.

Another requires top-level trauma centers to have similar plans in place. The third bill requires the state's Victims of Crime Compensation Office to partner with trauma centers to get victims into intervention programs.

New Jersey under Murphy has enacted a number of new firearms laws. In June, he signed a bill to make so-called smart guns that can be fired only by authorized users available in the state. In July 2018, he signed a half-dozen gun control measures, including a bill to cap magazine capacity at 10 rounds, down from 15.

In a statement over the weekend Murphy called on Congress and the president to pursue gun control legislation.

"Over the past 18 months, we have taken tremendous strides to end the crisis of gun violence in our state, but we cannot have these advances undone by continued inaction and deflection at the national level," Murphy said.