The Christie gun control conundrum of a Red Governor in a Blue State

Gun Control Protest

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2014 —  Chris Christie, embattled governor of the Garden State, is facing an important decision concerning the new gun control legislation fast tracked through the New Jersey legislature: the Governor has to weigh the impact signing it or vetoing it has on his prospects for one day finding himself behind the Resolute Desk.

The bill would bring down the magazine capacity limit in New Jersey from fifteen rounds to ten rounds. This covers weapons that have both detachable and fixed magazines, which would expand the banned gun list in the Garden State dramatically. The new ban would include some very popular and widely held .22 rifles which have fixed tube magazines with higher capacities than the new gun legislation would allow. In addition, there is no grandfathering clause or period of amnesty. Essentially upon the signage of this law, and its implementation date, those who hold these weapons would be guilty of second degree felonies.

Proponents of the bill defend the legislation with claims that it would help curb gun violence in New Jersey. But what is really behind this move? Criminals don’t exactly check their weapons to make sure they comply with the law. Certainly they don’t read up on current firearm legislation and upon learning that their guns are no longer in compliance, line up to turn in their illicit items. It does not work that way, but that is a dead horse beaten far too often. We all know that law breakers don’t follow laws.

So what else could be behind this newest gun control push in New Jersey?

We all know that New Jersey, despite their Red governor, is a blue state. And there is nothing more in vogue in Blue states than treating gun owners like criminals. Could this be just another push by Democrats in an anti-gun state making their latest anti-gun suit?

Perhaps, but that is not the only reason.

Chris Christie is their target. Many among Democratic leadership still believe that he is the best hope the Republicans have to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and any way you slice it any action taken by the governor in this case is damaging.

If he signs the bill, he will run into a world of problems. He is already seen as a RINO (Republican in name only) by much of the Conservative right, and based on his previous actions towards guns in New Jersey, signing this would only cement his categorization as an Establishment man and not a friend of American Conservatives. In addition, it will grant him the ire of the NRA who will use this as an excuse to throw their considerable weight behind Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz. During the primaries, pro-gun candidates will score points with Conservative voters by painting Christie as an anti-gunner and enemy of the Second Amendment. All of these situations would be detrimental to his 2016 prospects, and may cost him the primary bid.

Not signing it has an entirely different set of problems for the New Jersey governor. If he uses his veto power and stops the bill then the Democrats will use it to drive a wedge between him and moderate minded voters and independents who are still on the fence regarding Christie. It is not enough on its own to put a bad taste in the mouth of potential Democrat voters, but many have had enough bad bites of Christie goulash to choke down much more. In addition to the voters shying away from him as a result, the liberal media and the Democratic leadership will eat him alive for failing to sign this legislation into law.

There will be interviews and news reports about how Chris Christie is in the pocket of the NRA, how he does not care about the lives of children, and how he vetoed it to assuage the angry mob of right wing nutjobs banging down his door to tear up the law. If he wins the primary, he will have to answer accusations during debates from his Democratic opponent of why he failed to sign into law gun legislation that would have lowered crime in New Jersey. Again not enough to knock him off the tracks, but enough to make for a bumpy ride.

In the end, this is a very well thought out move by the Democratic legislature. Christie was, and still may be, the best hope of beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the problem is that by signing this bill it pushes him away from the Republican voters he needs to reach the 2016 election. It won’t happen if he is seen as soft against the gun-control lobby. If he doesn’t sign it, it will simply provide his enemies with cannon fodder when he eventually runs in 2016.


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  • williamdiamon

    The United Nations is not made up of people from around the world. It consists of governments from around the world, the enterprises meant to control the people of the world. Gun-control is an evil and draconian way to control these people as it reduces the common man to the status of herd animals. This is why governments propagate it. Gun-control does not make you safer (unless you are a criminal), it makes governments safer. Consider the proposed “assault weapons ban”.

    America in perspective:
    Total murders- 12,664
    Handguns- 6,220
    Hands and feet-728
    Hammers + clubs-496
    All rifles- 323 (that includes your “assault” + .50 rifles)
    Source: FBI 2011, Expanded Homicide Data Table 8

    Why would anyone suggest banning the semi-auto rifle when more people have been murdered with “hands and feet” then all types of rifles? Because it is an effective battle weapon and the one a modern day Minute Man would carry. This is what concerns them, not your safety.

  • Jackmeirod

    That’s a fair analysis. Christie can, however, veto this inane legislation and spin it in such a way as to — perhaps — turn the tables on NJ Democrats. The problems with the reduction in magazine capacity are not, primarily, rooted in Second Amendment or gun ownership. Rather, this is a 5th Amendment issue and one of basic logic, fundamental fairness and good governance.
    The NJ legislature and Governor Jim Florio pushed through NJ’s existing “assault weapons” ban, including a 15 round magazine limit, 24 years ago. The legislature already made the determination that 15 rounds strikes the right balance between public safety and the rights of law abiding gun owners. Now, for purely political reason, with zero evidence of any enhancement in public safety, the legislature wants to turn literally 1 million NJ gun owners into felons overnight and confiscate tens of millions of dollars of property.
    To make matters worse, they are exempting retired and active duty law enforcement — including a number of proponents of the bill — from the 10 rd restriction. Assemblyman Lou Greenwald — unbelievably — asserts that is because these people are “trained” — as if training has anything to do with the supposed dangers of “large capacity” magazines.
    Anyone with a shred of objectivity — which excludes most gun control proponents — will realize just how unfair and useless this legislation is. Christie needs to attack that angle and need not even address the Second Amendment issues.

  • spencer60

    He can veto this easily. Hold a press conference and hold up a little lever-action 22 rifle and explain that this is the kind of gun the Democrats want to ban.

    He’ll make them look ridiculous, un-American (the lever is ‘the gun that won the West’) and petty and because it’s ‘Christie holding a gun!’ the picture will go viral.

  • gala poola

    Wow, had my comment removed, someone offends easily. Get over yourself. My point is that the governor of my home state is not a true red republican as your color analogy indicates. He is what we get here in a state dominated by democrats. He is purple (the color you get when you mix red and blue) because of his left right views. He is a 2nd Amendment denying fool because he’s afraid of firearms. Everyone from the Garden State knows this