Last week Chris Christie took a chainsaw to the Second Amendment, signing 10 feel-good knee-jerk bills to further restrict New Jerseyans’ constitutional rights. Because, you know, Newtown.
But yesterday he wrapped himself in the flag whilst pompously proclaiming his undying love for “lawful recreational pastimes” as he conditionally vetoed 3 more anti-gun measures.
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.
In his veto message delivered this evening, Christie said that his proposal to ban the weapon was more narrowly tailored than the bill the Legislature passed, which would have also required owners to give them up.
“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.”
Now the “conditional veto” is an interesting animal. It’s not a solid “no.” It’s more like a “definite maybe.” Christie sends the bills back to the state legislature along with an itemized list of changes. If the legislature passes his changes then the whole thing becomes law.
He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too. The Democrats will take the heat for restricting our rights and Christie can wave his veto messages in front of the rubes in Iowa and New Hampshire when he runs for president.
I sure hope they aren’t dumb enough to fall for it.