HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The governors of six northeastern states and Puerto Rico have formed the nation's first consortium to conduct gun violence research and recommend policy changes.

Scholars and law enforcement officials will collect data and analyze gun violence information to pass on to policymakers. Their work will fill the void left by the federal government's 1996 ban on the use of federal funds to study gun violence, according to the coalition.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, one of the participants, said Wednesday the coalition wants to understand the root causes of violence and determine "effective prevention strategies." The Democrat said Connecticut has reduced violent crime at a faster pace than any other state with legislation it passed following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.

The other participating governors are from New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Delaware.

In Rhode Island, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said she looks forward to the research and noted her state's effort to create an action plan for gun reform.

Raimondo signed an executive order in February directing police to use all available legal steps to remove firearms from people who pose a threat, such as confiscating guns that were obtained illegally. Rhode Island law also allows authorities to take away people's guns in domestic violence cases.

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