After signing 10 gun control bills last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has had a change of tune this week, refusing to sign 3 gun control bills out of the remaining 5, including one that he called for(A3659), which would have banned the Barrett .50 caliber rifle. This gun is the most powerful weapon commonly available to civilians. The other 2 were sent back to seek modification.
Christie called for this ban back in April. The 2 under conditional veto were:
– S2723: Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s bill on gun permits that would encode firearm purchase permits on a driver’s license or a photo ID card, create a system for instant background checks, require gun buyers to show they completed a safety training course and stiffen penalties for letting guns slip into the hands of minors. This is known as Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s centerpiece bill to overhaul the way the state issues firearms ID cards
– A3797: Requires New Jersey enforcement agencies to report information on lost, stolen and discarded guns to federal databases. Christie removed a provision in this bill that would direct the State Police to issue reports on gun trace data provided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. He said it would have broken federal law that bans the knowing and public disclosure of ATF trace data information that law enforcement entities receive by virtue of their participation in the ATF firearms trace system database program.
Christie says there was a change in the Barrett .50 caliber rifle ban that required current owner to remove those guns being the reason he vetoed it.
Tellingly, the Legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey.
The wide scope of this total ban, therefore, will not further public safety, but only interfere with lawful recreational pastimes.
This of course didn’t go over well with gun control advocates.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said it was a failure of leadership.
Instead of doing what’s right for New Jersey, he bowed to the pressures of his political party.
From website NJ.com, this was said.
Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based organization focused on gun violence, called it the “most common-sensical bill in the entire package.”
“One person with one of these guns and incendiary armor piercing bullets could knock down a chemical plant and kill hundreds of people. Chris Christie clearly is courageous for his place in the Republican Party, but not for the residents of New Jersey,” Miller said.
“This shows real cowardice to put this out the public and the media at after 6 o’clock on a Friday ,” Miller added. “He wants it to be buried.
He’s more interested in running for president and making the extreme right wing feel good than he is in protecting the safety of the residents of New Jersey . ”
On the other end, gun rights activists are happy with the Governor’s decision.
Scott Bach, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs had this to say.
After seven months of battle over misguided legislation that won’t stop another crime or prevent another tragedy, we are grateful that Governor Christie has finally ended the discussion on the worst of the bills by tossing them onto the scrap heap where they belong. These vetoes put gun-banning politicians on notice that exploiting tragedy to advance an agenda against legal gun owners, instead of punishing violent criminals, will not be entertained.
Christie did sign a gun bill for a school security task force on the same day.
The last ast bill still awaiting Christie’s decision is S2715, which requires the Department of Education to prepare and distribute pamphlets on how parents can limit a child’s exposure to media violence.
To keep up to date on New Jersey’s gun control legislation, a handy list is supplied here.