Acting AG Platkin appoints leaders of new firearms enforcement office

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TRENTON, NJ — Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced Sept. 7 the appointment of the two supervisors who will lead a recently founded office designed to hold manufacturers and sellers of guns and firearm accessories accountable when they endanger the health and safety of New Jerseyans.

Platkin appointed Ravi Ramanathan, most recently director of investigations at the Office of the State Comptroller , and Jeremy Ershow, a litigator at the New York office of the Jenner & Block firm, to lead the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement Office, founded in July. Ramanathan will be the director of the SAFE Office and Ershow will serve as its deputy director.

“I am thrilled to announce a leadership team for our SAFE Office that is committed to taking on tough fights to hold the gun industry accountable for the harms they cause to our residents,” Platkin said. “Their combined experience managing complex matters at both state and national levels will ensure that any corporations recklessly feeding the gun violence crisis and causing injury, death and tragedy on the streets of New Jersey will be held to account.”

“I am deeply honored to serve as SAFE’s inaugural director and proud to lead the first-in-the-nation office committed to bringing civil enforcement actions against firearm companies who violate the law and jeopardize public health and safety,” Ramanathan said. “I am grateful that acting Attorney General Platkin has placed his faith in me to continue to build upon New Jersey’s record as a national leader in combating gun violence.”

“I am thrilled to take on the critical work of the SAFE Office and to partner with Ravi as deputy director,” Ershow said. “I cannot wait to serve the people of New Jersey in this role.” 

Under the new public nuisance legislation Gov. Phil Murphy signed on July 5, this new office is responsible for filing civil litigation against gun makers, retailers and other members of the firearms industry when they commit unlawful or unreasonable conduct, or fail to maintain reasonable controls over the manufacture, sale, distribution, importation or marketing of their products.

Ramanathan, of Collingswood, joined the comptroller’s office in February 2021 to lead its investigations division and its efforts to detect and uncover waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in state and local government. His office also conducted reviews of New Jersey State Police traffic stops and internal affairs processes. Prior to joining the comptroller’s office, Ramanathan also worked in the New York office of Jenner & Block, handling criminal and civil enforcement matters, investigations, and compliance reviews. Ramanathan clerked for Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge José Cabranes and for Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Brown University. 

Ershow, of Montclair, is an experienced litigator who has handled high-stakes disputes — including matters involving election integrity and voting rights — at Jenner & Block. Ershow clerked for Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Julio Fuentes and for Judge William Yohn Jr. of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He obtained his Juris Doctor from NYU School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

Ramanathan and Ershow will work closely with attorneys from the Division of Law and prequalified outside counsel to enforce the state’s firearms safety laws, including the recently enacted public nuisance law. On Sept. 7, the Attorney General’s Office issued a Request for Qualifications for law firms to seek inclusion on the approved special counsel list for firearms litigation.