TRENTON — Parents and students in New Jersey might see a greater police presence Wednesday morning after a man gunned down 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Texas.

New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin on Tuesday directed county prosecutors to increase municipal law enforcement presence at schools across the state "effective immediately."

State troopers will be at schools in communities that rely on the State Police for law enforcement.

"Nothing about this is normal," Platkin said in a written statement. "We do not have to accept that we live in a country where children are shot just for going to school. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, and we must all do everything we can to end the epidemic of gun violence."

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People wait outside of the Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
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Gov. Phil Murphy lashed out at federal lawmakers for not passing stricter gun legislation or confirming the nomination of Steve Dettelbach as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which Murphy said would enforce the laws to "keep guns out of the wrong hands."

"As a father, my heart is broken for the families who are reeling from this senseless, horrific tragedy,' he said. "There is no greater responsibility than protecting our children — and our nation is failing this most basic test.

At least 19 children and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday morning. The 18-year-old gunman is dead.

President Joe Biden struck a somber and serious tone, calling for new gun restrictions, in an address to the nation.

“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know needs to be done?” Biden asked.

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Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
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Biden, who's lost both a son and a daughter, was joined by first lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House on Tuesday night.

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?” Biden said, adding later, “It’s time to act.”

Biden called on the nation to pray for the parents and siblings of those dead. “To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. This article has been updated with the latest confirmed deaths as of Wednesday morning.

Sergio Bichao is the digital managing editor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com

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