Coalition of N.J. mayors urges Christie to press Congress for stronger gun laws

A coalition of more than 30 New Jersey mayors is calling on Gov. Chris Christie to use his position as governor to urge the passage of stronger gun laws in Congress.

The group thanked him for establishing the NJ SAFE Task Force to study violence in the Garden State following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., but also asked the governor to do more to fight against “a national epidemic of gun violence in America.”

“We urge you to communicate with members of Congress and convey strong support for common‐sense measures that will require a criminal background check for all gun sales and limit access to military‐style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines,” reads the letter.

“There is already movement on key issues in Washington, D.C., but we need as much support as possible from every member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation.”

The coalition, a bipartisan group dubbed Mayors Against Illegal Guns, includes more than 850 mayors nationwide, including 80 mayors in New Jersey.

“Gov. Christie is an influential figure, not just in New Jersey but across the country. We need him to stand up for common-sense national gun laws that will save lives in our state,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty in a statement.

“With his leadership and support, I believe we can get every member of our congressional delegation to support background checks on all U.S. sales,” he said.

The coalition is hosting a vigil in Morristown tonight to recognize the two-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting.

On Wednesday, an Assembly committee released more than 20 bills dealing with access to and ownership of guns following about seven hours of sometimes heated testimony.

The 33 mayors that signed the letter sent to the governor are:

Mayor Fred Tagliarini, Aberdeen

Mayor Mark Smith, Bayonne

Mayor Patrick H. McHale, Bogota

Mayor Chuck Cahn, Cherry Hill

Mayor Janice Kovach, Clinton

Mayor Sophie Heymann, Closter

Mayor M. James Maley, Jr., Collingswood

Mayor Thomas Hannen, Jr., Cranford

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Elizabeth

Mayor Colleen Mahr, Fanwood

Mayor Raymond McDonough, Harrison

Mayor Paul Anzano, Hopewell

Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Jersey City

Mayor Michael B. Ryan, Lake Como

Mayor Michael Beck, Lower Township

Mayor Victor DeLuca, Maplewood

Mayor Patrick O’Hagan, Midland Park

Mayor Timothy Dougherty, Morristown

Mayor Cory Booker, Newark

Mayor J. Brooke Hern, New Providence

Mayor Francis Womack, III, North Brunswick

Mayor Randy George, North Haledon

Mayor Alex Blanco, Passaic

Mayor Jeffrey Jones, Paterson

Mayor Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy

Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton

Mayor Jamel C. Holley, Roselle

Mayor Nicholas Poliseno, Spotswood

Mayor Peter S. Rustin, Tenafly

Mayor Clifton People, Jr., Union

Mayor Robert D. Parisi, West Orange

Mayor John Birkner, Jr., Westwood

Mayor Jeffrey R. Goldsmith, Woodcliff Lake

"This meeting is entirely off the record. Until somebody leaks it."
—Michael Kempner, addressing a roomful of Democratic powerbrokers organizng for Hillary Clinton