Gov. Phil Murphy names Bill Castner as gun-safety adviser

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TRENTON -

Gov. Phil Murphy named a longtime state government insider as his gun-safety adviser.

Murphy, a Democrat, said that Bill Castner will serve as senior adviser on firearms. The governor made the announcement Monday alongside former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly and one-time Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Castner is a former chief counsel to former Gov. Jon Corzine and previously served as the top aide to the Democrat-led Assembly.

The announcement comes as Murphy pushes for strengthening the state's already-tough gun laws. 

“Gun violence takes more than an emotional toll on our communities – it costs our state’s economy roughly $1.2 billion annually,” Murphy said in a tweet.

Castner is expected to pursue litigation focused on reducing gun crime.

“We hope that in having a single point of contact for our gun safety efforts we will be a model for the nation on smart policy and meaningful progress,” the governor said in a statement.

Castner is currently a top lobbyist for the state's biggest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Castner will work without a state salary for 60 days. Murphy says further expenses will be covered through "existing state resources."

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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