Gov. Phil Murphy renewed his push for tougher federal gun control laws Thursday, upon returning to New Jersey from his family vacation in Italy.
Murphy and his wife, Tammy, were in Morristown to greet the ‘March for Our Lives’ bus tour, whose participants include survivors of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school in February.
“If you compare the hand we’re playing in New Jersey, on gun safety, compared to other American states, I like the hand we’re playing,” said Murphy, who in June signed six gun safety bills into law.
Alfonso Calderon, a Parkland student who joined Murphy at the bill signing ceremony in Trenton, was not present.
Murphy departed about a half hour before the arrival of U.S. Sen Cory Booker, who like the governor praised those who arrived on the bus, including Parkland survivors David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez.
“This is what makes change in our country. It’s young people, not just getting engaged or involved, but helping to lead,” Booker said.
“It gives me hope that we can have a nation that has laws that are similar to New Jersey,” Booker said, citing as an example stronger background checks.
Murphy touted a similar message.
“We cannot relent on getting national gun safety legislation,” Murphy said.
“The will of Congress has been separated from the will of people, across both aisles. This is not just a Democratic thing. Both aisles have been separated from the will of the people by the NRA, and it’s up to us to push back against those gun lobbies, to be relentless, to do it day in and day out,” Murphy said.
Thursday’s event was held at Lidgerwood Park.
Among the attendees was Mikie Sherill, the Democratic candidate in a closely-watched race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinguyhusen, a Republican whose district includes Morristown.
Sherrill is facing N.J. Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-26th District.
In addition to encouraging voter registration, rally supporters had inflated a large balloon, derisively in the likeness of President Trump.
Sarah Emily Baum of Marlboro, a co-founder of the march’s state chapter, said that bus tour participants were “promoting young engagement, promoting gun violence prevention and promoting, more than anything else, the largest mobilization of youth voters in this country’s history.