In a 1993 bid for Assemblyman, Chris Christie said, “The issue which has energized me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal NJ’s ban on assault weapons.”
In a January 2013 interview with Matt Lauer, the host of NBC’s “Today” show, Christie refused to say if he supported renewing the lapsed federal ban on assault rifles. “All you’re focusing on right now is gun control,” he said. “What about the violence in our video games?”
According to the New York Times Today President Obama’s gun safety proposals will include a new federal assault weapons ban, background checks of all gun buyers, and a ban on high-capacity magazines. There is no denying the importance of federal fire arm laws, as what is illegal in one state may be readily accessible in a near-by state without federal legislation. However, passage of strong legislation in the Republican House and filibuster-prone Senate is not promising.
Thus, it is important for New Jersey to take its own actions. As our legislators began their new session, they introduced some 16 gun law bills, as conveniently compiled and made public by the NRA.
Our legislature can pass new gun laws, but the test is whether Christie will sign them. Christie’s multiple views on fire arm laws and the fact that he has been circumspect in his comments, suggests the possibility of accommodation. He would just as soon prefer to avoid the issue. Nonetheless, Democratic legislative leaders should feel him out and speak with their Republican counterparts in an effort to forge needed improvements in our laws.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, with a Republican Senate and a Democratic Assembly, today signed into law a sweeping package of gun-control measures. Maybe NJ can do the same. But a reasonable Chris Christie will have to stand up.
Which of these bills do you think are most needed or most likely to gain passage? Will Christie be amenable to some strengthening of our gun laws?