Skip to comments.Chris Christie’s Faking It on Gun Rights
Posted on 07/10/2014 11:15:47 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Twenty years before he killed a cap on magazine rounds, the Republican entered politics explicitly to fight for an assault-weapons ban and bullet limit.
A gun control bill landed on New Jersey Governor Chris Christies desk on July 2, the same day that two parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, took to the Trenton State House to try to convince him to sign it.
When Christie vetoed the bill insteadnot even blinking at the pleas from the victims familieshe sent a message to conservatives and gun-rights groups that he is still a viable contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. Christie will arrive in Nashville this week for the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Associationfor which he serves as chairmanwith renewed credibility as a right-wing powerhouse. After all, who but a conservative, gun-rights stalwart, unwavering in his principles, would be capable of appearing so unmoved by a father holding up a picture of his murdered son?
Undercutting Christies perceived tough guy act, however, is his record. In office and as a candidate for office, he has been anything but the kind of Second Amendment advocate who conservatives want to call their own. And his moderate stance on gunsincluding his history as an assault weapon-ban evangelistopens him up to charges of inauthenticity.
Most people in the Second Amendment arena dont believe him, because hes been on both sides of the issue, Richard Merkt, a former running mate of Christies, told The Daily Beast. I think, in his core belief system, he is not a supporter of the Second Amendment... Anything he says in favor of the Second Amendment or in favor of a Second Amendment issue may not sound like it really comes from the heart, because I dont think it does.
Mark Bardens 7-year-old son, Daniel, and Nicole Hockleys 6-year-old son, Dylan, were two of 20 children killed by Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter. On that December day in 2012, he used a Model XM15-E2s .233-caliber semiautomatic rifle with a 30-round magazine.
The parents wanted Christie to sign a bill which would have lowered the cap on ammunition magazines from 15 to 10and they were not alone. They brought with them 55,000 signatures from people across the countryincluding 10,000 from the Garden Statewhich they dropped off at the Governors office, where they said they were told he was not available to meet with them. (A source close to the Christie administration said that the governor was simply not in the State House at the time the meeting was requested, but in a press conference, he said he didnt take the meeting because he had already signed the veto.) News of Christies veto came barely an hour later.
There are only eight states that have a cap on the size of magazines, and most of those caps, like in New York and Connecticut, are 10 rounds. By way of explanation, Christie called the measure reform in name only, assuring that it would not reduce future instances of mass violence. Instead, he said, he wanted to focus on the root of gun violence--mental health. I will not support such a trivial approach to the sanctity of human life, because this is not governing. Governing is confronting problems.
A spokesperson for Christie, Kevin Roberts, told The Daily Beast, the Governor believes and has consistently stated that we must act to prevent the types of horrible tragedies suffered by having effective gun control laws in place while addressing the underlying causes of violence.
The parents branded Christies refusal to meet with them a cowardly political move and his reasons for vetoing the measure a blow to the memories of our children. Trivial, the word Christie used to describe the proposed reform, grated particularly hard: Limiting the number of bullets loaded into a gun is not trivial--we know that smaller magazines would have saved more lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, possibly even the lives of our own children. Christie has dismissed charges that the veto was politically motivated.
A few days after the veto, Christie was in Keansburg, an already-broken down beach town beat into submission by Hurricane Sandy, for an announcement unrelated to guns. But the issue followed him there.
Asked by a reporter about the veto, he was unrepentant: So are we saying then that the 10 children, on the clip that they advocate for, that their lives are less valuable? If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero, because every life is valuable. And so why 10? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely?
He continued: I feel extraordinary sympathy for [the Sandy Hook families] and the other families and all of the families across America who are the victims of gun violence, but, he said, they have fundamental differences when it comes to magazine caps. Ive read a lot on this issue and I made the decision that I made.
And a media spotlight highlighted that decision--and the unapologetic attitude accompanying it.
On MSNBC, Christie was called chicken-something, which I wont say on the air. There is a second word, by Joe Scarborough, once the governors public advocate, for not meeting with the Sandy Hook victims. How about being humane? Scarborough asked, before teeing off on Christies explanation for the veto: When you start going down this path of having to defend the indefensible, these are the silly things that come out of your mouth. Rachel Maddow also slammed the veto, arguing that Christie is testing the bounds of what can be called shameful by calling out parents of murdered kids.
But online and in print, the veto earned praise from the right wing. The Tea Party News Network applauded the move: As America geared up for celebrating our Independence Day, New Jersey governor Chris Christie did something very American: he stood up to gun-grabbing tyrants. The CEO of Pro Gun New Hampshire told the Star-Ledger, I think its a step in the direction for Governor Christie. The National Review published an op-ed titled, Chris Christie Was Right Not To Meet With the Parents of Sandy Hook, which branded him brave.
Yet Christies history on guns does not suggest he is the severe conservative that refusing to cave to pressure and public shaming from the parents of slain young children would suggest he is--a non-issue in the Garden State, where voters lean left and gun violence plagues urban areas (in Trenton, 31 of 37 violent murders in 2013 were shootings)--but potentially a very big problem in states vital to a presidential campaign.
Christies first two campaigns were run on his support of New Jerseys assault weapons ban, in place since 1990, which includes the 15-round magazine cap.
In April 1993, the future governor (then just a lawyer) announced he would run for the State Senate. He told the Star-Ledger, The issue which has motivated me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jerseys ban on assault weapons...In todays society no one needs a semiautomatic assault weapon...We already have too many firearms in our communities. Christie said that while he absolutely supported the right to bear arms, he would prevent any weakening of existing gun laws. The campaign only lasted a week.
In 1995, Christie, while serving as a county Freeholder, mounted a campaign for the State Assembly. He teamed up with Richard Merkt, then a legislative aide, to give running on assault weapons another go. Today, Merkt says that he just went along with Christie on the issue. Team Christie, he told The Daily Beast, took control of that whole process. The process including distributing mailers attacking the duos two main opponents, the vulnerable incumbent, Anthony Bucco, and a prominent conservative voice in the district, Michael Patrick Carroll. The mailers deemed repealing the ban on automatic assault weapons dangerous, crazy, and radical.
He was basically kind of mocking the Second Amendment people, Merkt said. I think he thought the Second Amendment issue was kind of a joke, and was not significant.
Christie and Merkt lost, with Christie coming in fourth place.
As the U.S. Attorney, Christie addressed gun violence by locking up gang members like The M.O.B. Boys, Double ii Bloods, and Raymond Morales, and forming the Camden Violent Crime Initiative, which aimed to target crimes using firearms for prosecution and expedite firearm identification efforts.
Once governor, Christie vowed to strictly enforce New Jerseys existing gun laws, which are some of the most aggressive in the country. In 2012, as part of the Christie Administrations focus on illegal weapons, according to a press release, the Attorney Generals office cracked down, arresting 406 people and seizing 76 guns. And the administration participates in gun buyback programs, which have removed thousands of weapons from the street.
After Sandy Hook, Christie called for a large, national discussion...and gun control has to be part of it, too. Following the shooting, Democrats in the legislature sent 17 different gun control bills to Christies desk--10 of which he signed, including one to increase the penalty for illegally providing a gun to someone underage, and one which upgraded some unlawful gun ownership to a first-degree crime.
When then-National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre responded to the tragedy by calling for armed guards in schools, Christie publicly disagreed, saying, If you just have an armed guard at the front door [of the school], then what if this guy had gone around to the side door? Theres many doors in and out of schools.
Christie also slammed a reprehensible 2013 ad made by the NRA, which featured President Obamas daughters. Dont be dragging peoples children into this...Its wrong and I think it demeans [the NRA] and makes them less of a valid trusted source of information on the real issues that confront this debate.
Reflecting on Christies history on guns since their ill-fated 95 campaign, Merkt offered that even though he has himself evolved on the issue to be a guns-rights advocate, he doesnt believe the gov has real credibility.
He will say whatever he thinks is necessary and expedient at the time, depending on the audience that he's addressing. And right now, he knows that he has to try to resuscitate his appeal to the conservative base of the party, Merkt said. He's been seriously damaged by Bridgegate and the various other missteps, and if he wants to have any chance to resuscitate himself as a presidential candidate, he has got to not offend the various conservative interests that are out there.
(A spokesman for Christie, Kevin Roberts, responded to Merkts comments, saying: Im not concerned with the hit-and-run commentary from those who are clearly uninformed about the Governors record.)
Carroll was kinder, shrugging that you can only take a person at his word. But he acknowledged the political problem at hand: Are there people who are never willing to accept a conversion? Yes. Will it be an issue that, perhaps, will cause him to explain? Yes.
Rick Shaftan, a Republican political consultant who worked on Carrolls 1995 campaign, told me, I dont think Chris Christie believes in anything, but, hows the guy going to possibly run for president endorsing gun control?
Chris Christie’s 180 on gun control is about as believable as Mitt Romney’s 180 on abortion. Never trust a liberal.
Last I heard from ‘the gun boards’, for those that have semi-automatic handguns for perrsonal defense, in New Jersey, cannot obtain hollow point bullets, and are left to such things as ‘expanding full metal jacket rounds’, such as Federal’s Guard Dog line. These bullets, in FBI comparable tests to be found on YouTube, don’t really function that well.
Krispy Kreme Christie is not any place close for any kind of consideration of political gain, in my eyes.
How would limiting magazine size saved those children?
Not sure who told you that, but you can go to any gun store in NJ and buy hollow points.
There are restrictions as to where you can have them, but at home is not one of them. You can also shoot them at the range or to hunt. As there is no carry in NJ, other than those places it doesn't really matter. Retired LEOs can carry expanding ammo, but there are only a few ammos that don't meet the hollow point definition and as you said, they don't work very well.
On the other hand, a normal resident who get caughts on the parkway with a .22 hollow point that fell out of his pocket and he's in serious trouble.
Why do you think I used the term:
“Last I heard from the gun boards”?
I read various gun boards, including ‘The High Road’, ‘The Firing Line’ and ‘pistol-forum.com’.
The discussions are there to be read, and that is where I derived my information.
Nobody ‘told me’ anything. As to my location, I have no such limitations of any kind, other than not having it on the shelf. My choice of fondness are full semi-wadcutters, which have no ‘engineered to fail’ issues.
*insert photo of Princess Leia in a bikini here*
Crispy is a gun grabbing, amnesty pushing muzzie lover. He will never be elected President. I wouldn’t vote for that guy if Pelosi was on the Democrat ticket.
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