Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, with Brett Sabo of Moms Demand Action at right, in Riverside Gardens Park Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


At a no-surprises event held in Red Bank, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy picked up an endorsement from a group pushing for “common sense gun laws” Friday.

Addressing a clutch of supporters and at least two local GOP officials in Riverside Gardens Park, Murphy pledged to reject an “us versus them” approach to dealing with gun-rights advocates while pressing for ways to reduce firearms violence in New Jersey.

The 19-minute event framed the endorsement of Murphy, a former Ambassador to Germany, by Moms Demand Action. Brett Sabo, a Red Bank resident who leads the organization’s New Jersey chapter, said the group “does not believe in repealing the Second Amendment. We simply believe that it can be respected while doing so much more to protect Americans from dangerous people having all-too-easy access to guns.”

“Talk of gun safety has all too often been put into that us-verus-them dimension,” said Murphy, whose home is just across the Navesink River from the park.

He said Governor Chris Christie, in attempting to “tack for the sake of the national politics of his party” and to catch the ear of to the National Rifle Association, had rejected common-sense gun-control measures supported by a majority of New Jerseyans.

“And it must be said that Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was at his side every step of the way,” Murphy said of his Republican opponent in the November election.

“I am not alone, as you can see here today, in wanting strong gun safety laws in New Jersey,” he said.

Murphy said he would sign gun control measures vetoed by Christie and work for passage of others, including mandatory safety training for gun owners; “keep guns out of the hands of those suffering from mental illness;” and make it a crime to sell guns without conducting background checks of buyers.

Citing a statistic that 80 percent of guns used in New Jersey crimes come from out of state, Murphy said he would “engage” other states to stem the inflow, and “appoint an attorney general who will vigorously defend our gun laws.”

According to public polls, Murphy has a strong lead over Guadagno, a Monmouth Beach resident.