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Govs Of N.Y., N.J., Conn., R.I. Form 'States For Gun Safety' Coalition

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island are forming a coalition of like-minded states on gun control, hoping to make progress where they see the federal government has faltered.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo have formed the "States for Gun Safety" coalition, and invited other states from across the nation to join the new effort.

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The four Democrats made their announcement on Thursday, about a week after the mass shooting at a Florida high school. Murphy said that shooting accelerated their idea to form the coalition, which has been in the works for about a year.

"Gun violence is not a New Jersey problem, a New York problem, a Connecticut problem, a Rhode Island problem, or a problem for any particular state or region -- it is a national problem," Murphy said. "However, we cannot wait for congress or the president to act. As states, we must work together to take the steps and enact measures to protect our residents and our communities. But, even more importantly, a collective of states can take these steps together to broaden the reach and impact of common sense gun safety laws."

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Cuomo made it a point to say there's no use waiting for lawmakers in Washington to act.

"Here in New York, we're proud to be home to the nation's strongest gun safety law. However, the federal government's continued inaction on this issue has not only allowed the epidemic of gun violence to spread, but it has actually prevented the laws like the SAFE Act from being fully effective," Cuomo said. "Rather than wait for the federal government to come to its senses and pass responsible gun safety legislation, New York is joining with New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to take matters into our own hands. Not only will this groundbreaking partnership take new steps to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines, but by forming the nation's first Region Gun Violence Research Consortium, we will be able to better inform policymakers nationwide on how to keep their communities safe."

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Malloy said the coalition will not be swayed by the powerful gun lobby.

"We refuse to allow federal inaction to enact commonsense, gun safety laws endanger the lives of our residents," Malloy said. "Despite the best efforts of powerful lobbyists from special interest groups, we will work together as a coalition of states to keep our communities safe. We cannot sit back and let guns get into the hands of those who shouldn't have them, and we cannot simply watch almost daily tragedy occur. One thing remains clear: we would be better off if every state and the federal government enacted sensible gun safety rules. We will not wait for Washington to act – the time for action is now."

The governors said the cross-state task force will trace and intercept illegal guns, step up intelligence and information sharing among the states and create a regional gun violence research consortium.

They'll be urging others to join the coalition at this weekend's National Governors Association meeting.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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