Video: Chris Christie won’t say he stands with the NRA

posted at 8:01 am on January 11, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

The segment of people who weren’t watching the football pre-game shows yesterday morning may have tuned in to see Chris Christie being interviewed by John Dickerson on Face the Nation. If they did, they’d have found the host giving Christie a serious grilling on the question of gun control. Christie has been saying most of the right things regarding the Second Amendment on the campaign trail, but his record in New Jersey has left gun rights advocates with more than a few questions. Politico has the top line to the story.

Chris Christie’s quietly rising fortunes in the Republican presidential primary could encounter some turbulence as GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire grapple with what he calls his “evolution” on gun rights.

Christie argued Sunday in an interview aired on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he avoided gun issues during his tenure as New Jersey governor because he could never win policy battles with his Democratic legislature. But when host John Dickerson pointed out that he distanced himself from the NRA during his 2009 campaign for governor, Christie acknowledged his shifting position.

The Governor was seemingly forced to adopt the “I’ve evolved” line of defense taken by so many politicians. It’s something of a shame that elected officials can’t truly “evolve” in their views without frequently being taken to the woodshed, but the reality is that for too many of them, “evolving” simply means flip flopping because the public polling has shifted.

Getting down to some of the specifics of the issue, Christie was pressed on whether or not he lends his support to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and their efforts on behalf of gun rights. His answer left something to be desired to say the least.

JOHN DICKERSON: “Would you say you stand with the NRA?”

CHRISTIE: “Listen I stand with anybody who believes in protecting the Second Amendment and protecting public safety whether it’s the NRA or other organizations like the New Jersey Pistol Club or others. I stand with organizations who want to make sense between public safety and our Second Amendment rights and I think they do.”

DICKERSON: “So just going back to that ad though, you stand with the NRA?”

CHRISTIE: “Well, listen the fact is, that if the NRA, not on every issue but on the issues, you tick them down issue by issue I’ll be able to answer them for you. But I’m not going to say I stand with anybody, any particular interest group and give them a blank check, that’s not what leadership is.”

There was probably a time when that answer might have been viewed a lot more kindly since gun rights is a complex issue with a lot of ground to cover and people of good intentions do sometimes disagree on the fine grain details. Unfortunately, the Democrats have managed to demonize the NRA to the point where it’s really a binary decision these days. On one side you have the NRA and on the other you have every Democrat, squishy Republicans and most of the media lined up against them. This isn’t really the time to be dancing around the question.

As to his own record, Christie got tripped up yet again when asked about the ban on so called “assault weapons.”

JOHN DICKERSON: “Let me talk about your record on assault weapons. When we last talked, you said that originally you wanted to keep an assault weapons ban, said those who wanted to get rid of it were crazy. You said since then you’ve learned as a prosecutor you evolved on that issue. In 2009 though, you were still a supporter of the assault weapons ban that was after you’d been a prosecutor.”

CHRIS CHRISTIE: “No what I said at the time that I was not interested in debating or changing because I knew I couldn’t New Jersey’s gun laws with a Democratic legislature. If I had my choice, John, we would be a state where you could apply much more easily and receive much more easily a carry permit in our state. We’re a may issue state, not a shall issue state. We should be a shall issue state so people can defend themselves.”

DICKERSON: “When you were in that race with John Corzine in 2009, he said Christie stands with the NRA and your campaign put out a fact check and called that a lie. And then your campaign said this, Chris Christie supports the assault weapons ban and all current gun laws. He opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey. Hardly the NRA position. So that seems different than where you are now.”

CHRISTIE: “Yes, it is. Again, John, you learn about these things over time. And I’ve learned about this over time. In New Jersey, I have grown up in a culture in our state of very, very vigorous anti-gun laws. As I’ve traveled the country as RGA chairman, as I’ve traveled the country as a governor, I’ve learned a great deal about this. And my actions as governor of New Jersey have been exactly where I think they need to be. When these things involve public safety, I’m for public safety but if their laws that are just going to make legislatures and governors feel better they shouldn’t be put in place and infringe Second Amendment right.”

DICKERSON: “But so the evolution is more recent then when just when you were a prosecutor?”

CHRISTIE: “It’s an evolution that’s gone on over time, absolutely John.”

That one probably hurts a lot more than the not standing behind the NRA issue. The “assault weapons” ban question is a nagging, annoying issue for gun rights supporters and this “evolution” on Christie’s part happened awfully quickly with some fits and starts along the way. Dickerson honed in on the fact that the Governor was in a tough race against Corzine and he was singing a very different tune, well after his days as a prosecutor. Putting out a statement in support of the ban was paired up with apparent backing of “all current gun laws” which included the so called “smart gun” provisions which have riled activists in the Garden State. What that translates into is a case of a politician saying what his largely blue state voters wanted to hear when he needed to win his race and then changing his tune as he stepped out onto the national stage.

This comes at a critical time for Christie because he was just beginning to show some signs of life in New Hampshire according to the most recent polls. (Not threatening to win, but at least cracking into the top four.) It’s really the only early state where he’s gained any ground at all and the Granite State is probably the most gun friendly zone in the first twenty primary contests. Expect to see this brought up by his opponents during the final three weeks if he continues to rise in the final polls.

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Comments

Chris who?
Why is he even worthy of an interview?

Galtian on January 11, 2016 at 8:03 AM

I am the NRA. If he doesn’t stand with me, I don’t stand with him.

clement on January 11, 2016 at 8:04 AM

Tell him they have free donuts, see if his opinion changes

Rogue on January 11, 2016 at 8:06 AM

He loves muslim’s and carbon credits as well. Yet, FNC will still refer to him as a conservative.

Mr. Arrogant on January 11, 2016 at 8:13 AM

“Well, listen the fact is, that if the NRA, not on every issue but on the issues, you tick them down issue by issue I’ll be able to answer them for you. But I’m not going to say I stand with anybody, any particular interest group and give them a blank check, that’s not what leadership is.”

Hey Shipmate, there are no issues with the NRA. It is only about the 2nd amendment. Not like they wade into abortion rights or minimum wages battles is it?

Johnnyreb on January 11, 2016 at 8:17 AM

It really doesn’t matter, nationally, what Christie does or does not say.

M240H on January 11, 2016 at 8:21 AM

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny . . . . . when the government fears the people, there is FREEDOM.

HEY CHRIS ! . . . . . . . . Do you believe the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the common citizens to have the physical power/capability to make the govt afraid of the common citizens?

listens2glenn on January 11, 2016 at 8:23 AM

Fortunately, there is zero chance anyone will have the option of voting for him.

vityas on January 11, 2016 at 8:24 AM

What that translates into is a case of a politician saying what his largely blue state voters wanted to hear when he needed to win his race and then changing his tune as he stepped out onto the national stage.

This kind of unprincipled flip-flopery is the epitome of what is wrong with the political class. Winning elections is the only thing that matters.

Happy Nomad on January 11, 2016 at 8:24 AM

…the former prosecutor …is second on my ‘liar list’…behind the Rube!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 11, 2016 at 8:27 AM

That one probably hurts a lot more than the not standing behind the NRA issue.

Christie is not going to win over any squishy independent with a lackluster gun rights stance. And he’s going to shoo away an awful lot of gun owners. Exactly the wrong answer.

rbj on January 11, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Christie is a socialist’s idea of a conservative.

Younggod on January 11, 2016 at 8:29 AM

A typical chameleon, shape-shifting politician who will say and do anything to get elected. Get lost Chris! You are at 1%. Drop out now and save yourself embarrassment!

ChowHound on January 11, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Jazz “Hands” Shaw Chrispy Chreme is as likely to be the GOP nominee as Kasich….

*if* you nominate a pro-choice, anti-gun, pro high tax “New England Conservative” for the nomination he will be Mirror Universe Walter Mondale.

Choose wisely.

harlekwin15 on January 11, 2016 at 8:35 AM

I can’t accept that guns are the answer to man’s dilemmas in life, but if I must choose to live with my freedom dependent upon either bullies like Chris Christie or guns, I’ll take the latter every time.

Don L on January 11, 2016 at 8:40 AM

This kind of unprincipled flip-flopery is the epitome of what is wrong with the political class. Winning elections is the only thing that matters.
Happy Nomad on January 11, 2016 at 8:24 AM

Wish I had said that. Won’t it be a great day when politicians fear doing that more than they do standing with the NRA?

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:42 AM

Or should I say, when politicians will lose more votes doing that than the would standing with the NRA.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:44 AM

… but the reality is that for too many of them, “evolving” simply means flip flopping because the public polling has shifted…

Probably should be, “…. but the reality is that for too many of them, “evolving” simply means flip flopping because they are too stupid to stand on principles and instead, allow themselves to be scared witless by inept/slanted public polling…”

RL on January 11, 2016 at 8:44 AM

When will that fat friggin’, B.O. hugging bastard quit the race?

JackM on January 11, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Krispy is the same NE effete gun grabbing putz he’s always been. Just stuff yer damned mouth with another donut and leave the stage.

vnvet on January 11, 2016 at 9:17 AM

Christie is a socialist’s idea of a conservative.

Younggod on January 11, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Christie is a progressive playing the role of his idea of a Republican. Not doing it very well, either.

Christie’s sole claim to conservative fame is for obnoxiously standing up to the New Jersey teacher’s unions. Amusing as that was, it was another case where the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend- Christie fails a conservative smell test on pretty much every other issue.

Dolce Far Niente on January 11, 2016 at 9:33 AM

Pity. He’d make a good range backstop.

Rix on January 11, 2016 at 9:39 AM

Guess Christie wants another big hug from Obama. Obama said he would not campaign for anyone that isn’t with him on gun control and obviously Christie is with him on gun control. Making the selection of who to vote for just gets easier every day as they finally admit how much they hate America and its Constitution and our left wing New Jersey Governor is surly one that wont get my vote.

pwb on January 11, 2016 at 9:45 AM

HEY CHRIS ! . . . . . . . . Do you believe the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the common citizens to have the physical power/capability to make the govt afraid of the common citizens?

listens2glenn on January 11, 2016 at 8:23 AM

Actually, that brings up a good point.

The best debate question to ask would be:

“What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment?”

fossten on January 11, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Christie always was, and will always be a POS GOPe RINO!
Gutless(?) and shouldn’t even be a candidate.

RWRFAN on January 11, 2016 at 10:01 AM

When the chips were down Christie stood with Obama. That’s all you need to know.

Iblis on January 11, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Expect to see this brought up by his opponents during the final three weeks if he continues to rise in the final polls.

Unfortunately, Christie is suffering from the same syndrome that has tripped up too many potentially great leaders for several decades now: The urge to try to be a ‘one size fits all’ candidate in order to get as many votes as possible.

Sadly, he does not realize that it is precisely that particular practice that identifies politicos as oldline politicians who use questionable tactics to change their ideologies like their suits as the occasion fits. Yet this time around the voters want a real, solid leader who can be relied upon to hold their stances regardless of the shifting pressures.

UPNorthWolf on January 11, 2016 at 11:17 AM

HEY CHRIS ! . . . . . . . . Do you believe the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the common citizens to have the physical power/capability to make the govt afraid of the common citizens?
.
listens2glenn on January 11, 2016 at 8:23 AM

.
Actually, that brings up a good point.

The best debate question to ask would be:

“What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment?”
.
fossten on January 11, 2016 at 9:48 AM

.
YES … it … would

It would be the most ‘ANTI-PROGRESSIVE’ question ever asked, in a political debate.

listens2glenn on January 11, 2016 at 11:31 AM

Maybe because he doesn’t.

bbinfl on January 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM

Krispy is the same NE NJ effete gun grabbing putz he’s always been.
vnvet on January 11, 2016 at 9:17 AM

FIFY – NJ is NOT part of New England (Maine, NH, Vermont, MA, CT, RI).
No part of new England is as bad as NJ – well maybe CT, and Massachusetts is close, but still not as bad.
BTW Maine and Vermont have constitutional carry, NH was close but the governor vetoed the bill.

dentarthurdent on January 11, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Evolving? You have to be kidding. He is still obese and a non-candidate for the presidency and needs to stop wailing and drop out NOW! along with Fiorina, Kasich, Rubio, Jeb, etc. leaving Trump for president and Cruz for VP. If Trump decides, may think about 1 or 2 of failed or failing candidates in the Cabinet. Christi is history and just doesn’t want to believe he will be out of a political position as Governor and have to return to real life and how to earn enough money to feed his gut! Just another bought and paid for establishment creep and he sealed his fate when he was proud of Obama and hugging as well. Sorry, that creeped me out!

Roselle on January 11, 2016 at 3:49 PM

No part of new England is as bad as NJ – well maybe CT, and Massachusetts is close, but still not as bad.
BTW Maine and Vermont have constitutional carry, NH was close but the governor vetoed the bill.

dentarthurdent on January 11, 2016 at 2:08 PM

I worked for a year at The Burlington (VT) Free press. Believe me, they relish their designation as the “left coast” of New England. NJ has its moments, but it’s nothing like as left as Vermont.

The best debate question to ask would be:

“What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment?”

fossten on January 11, 2016 at 9:48 AM

^^^ THIS !!!

ReggieA on January 11, 2016 at 9:59 PM

It’s something of a shame that elected officials can’t truly “evolve” in their views without frequently being taken to the woodshed, but the reality is that for too many of them, “evolving” simply means flip flopping because the public polling has shifted.

I wish there were some fool-proof way of knowing the difference, but most of the elections just prove we can be fooled.

AesopFan on January 12, 2016 at 1:37 AM