Saying they can't wait for the federal government to take action, governors from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island announced on Thursday that they are forming a coalition to collaborate as a region to prevent gun violence.
The four governors will urge others to join the coalition at this weekend's National Governors Association meeting. "We are taking law-abiding citizens and making them criminals".
The agreement further calls on the four states to share with one another information from their databases on who can not buy or own a gun in their respective borders.
The coalition was created following a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last week. The governors say the move ensures that states will be able to more effectively prevent certain people from buying guns, obtaining weapons, or getting gun permits. "This idea that we're going to be safer because we have more arms doesn't work very well in Syria, doesn't work very well in Iraq, and probably won't work very well here", he said in the CNN interview.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said the collaboration will put together existing resources that will strengthen efforts against gun violence for all member states. "The probability is they also go across the borders to make gun purchases and why not share that information?"
Similarly, New York State has a database of tens of thousands of people deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms but those names are not part of the federal database that other states would use to see if they are eligible to buy a gun. Gun trafficking groups have often been found to buy guns, particularly handguns, in states south of NY along the Interstate 95 corridor, nicknamed the Iron Pipeline, and then drive them to the Northeast.
The quartet of governors also announced the possibility that public universities could become centers for research into gun violence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal law enforcement agency that handles the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, said it generally does not comment on state and local matters.
In addition, the governors will designate institutes of higher education to create the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium, described as the nation's first. Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all firearms be removed from those convicted of domestic violence crimes, including misdemeanors.