Christie vetoes gun-control legislation he demanded

posted at 11:31 am on August 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It wasn’t that long ago that New Jersey governor Chris Christie spoke out for expanded federal gun-control legislation — in fact, it was less than four months ago when Christie criticized the US Senate for not passing expanded background checks for gun purchases, while pushing for a ban on certain kinds of weapons in New Jersey.  However, when the state legislature responded with a bill that banned the specific weapon that Christie demanded, the governor ended up turning the tables and issued a veto:

After months of pressure from both sides of the gun control debate, Gov. Chris Christie today refused to sign three controversial gun control measures sitting on his desk — including a version of a weapon ban that he had called for.

Christie altered two bills, sending them back to the Legislature — a massive measure (S2723) known as state Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s “centerpiece” to overhaul the way the state issues firearms ID cards, and legislation to require New Jersey law enforcement agencies to report information on lost, stolen and discarded guns to federal databases (A3797).

But the governor completely axed a bill that would ban the Barrett .50 caliber rifle(A3659), which is the most powerful weapon commonly available to civilians. Christie had called for a ban on future sales of the weapon in his own package of violent prevention measures outlined in April.

Why the change of heart? Christie claimed that the legislation went farther than he wanted by outlawing even current private ownership of the Barrett, which would have required confiscation of those weapons.  However, Christie also argued that the Barrett and other weapons in its class has never been tied to crime at all anyway:

“Tellingly, the Legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey,” Christie wrote. “The wide scope of this total ban, therefore, will not further public safety, but only interfere with lawful recreational pastimes.”

Ooooooo-kay, then. If that’s true, then why did Christie insist in April that the Barrett .50-caliber rifle needed to be banned at all?  That was, after all, Christie’s own idea, and in April the idea that such a ban would interfere with “lawful recreational pastimes” for future owners of the Barrett didn’t seem to trouble Christie.  On the other hand, if the Barrett .50-caliber rifle is so dangerous as to require a ban, why would the state leave any in the hands of private owners at all?

Perhaps Christie has figured out that his original position was nonsense.  The Barrett is no more dangerous to public safety than any other firearm; the danger is in the person who holds it and their intent in using it, as is true for every other kind of weapon one can imagine. Or maybe Christie has just figured out that he wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination with his signature on a gun ban.

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Jetboy. Christie could have been much more low key than he was. He didn’t have to literally french Obama on the beach and say that he was the best thing since sliced bread and was totally helping New Jersey out as the greatest President ever. Christie knew exactly how this was playing and who this was helping. All those Democrats in NJ also get what was happening/ his approval rating in NJ shot up quite a bit after his PDA with Obama. It wasn’t because of his tax policy.

Illinidiva on August 18, 2013 at 3:26 AM

More low key? How? The Jersey shore was devastated after Sandy. Christie, as governor, asks for federal disaster aid. Obama, as president, tours some of the damaged areas with Christie. Christie thanks him for coming, shakes his hand, and that’s that.

You and others make it sound like Christie welcomed Obama with bands and fireworks. I don’t know how much more “low key” the whole visit could have been. All Christie did was his job…and was concerned for the people and businesses of his state. And for that, he’s crucified by too many conservatives.

Makes no sense.

JetBoy on August 18, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Or maybe Christie has just figured out that he wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination with his signature on a gun ban.


Hardly. In fact, it might even help. The signature on Romneycare clearly didn’t stop Mitt.

In fact, the only thing that appears to be a show-stopper on getting the GOP nom is to actually be a conservative. That’ll kill your chances faster than Rubio can reverse his position on amnesty.

Chris of Rights on August 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Meh, Christie being a north eastern RINO, nothing to see. TPTB in the republican party don’t want to win the presidency again…nor the senate.

jukin3 on August 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Christie went on multiple talk shows praising Obama as the greatest President Evan a week before the election.. And he certainly did welcome Obama to the Jersey Shore with bands and fireworks.

Illinidiva on August 18, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I didn’t think weasels could get that fat.

camaraderie on August 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM