The Corner

Chris Christie, Second Amendment Cynic

Oh look, Chris Christie is running for president:

At 9:30 p.m. on the eve of his Republican presidential campaign kickoff, Gov. Chris Christie announced a change to state firearm policy on an issue that has been riling gun rights activists.

The governor also signaled support for loosening New Jersey’s strict gun control laws.

Reacting to the June 3 death of 39-year-old Berlin Township woman Carol Bowne, Christie on Monday announced that acting state Attorney General John Hoffman will file a new regulation to require applications for gun permits for victims of domestic violence, other violent crimes or “those living under a direct or material threat” be processed “quickly and without delay.”

Those circumstances would also count as a “justifiable need” to obtain an expedited permit to carry firearms — something rarely granted to New Jersey residents who are not retired law enforcement officers.

The governor also signed an executive order to create the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission, tasked with “reviewing the state’s laws, regulations and procedures pertaining to the ownership and possession of firearms and ensuring they do not infringe on New Jerseyans’ constitutional rights.”

This is cynical in the extreme. Christie has been in elected office for five-and-a-half-years now, during which time the good denizens of New Jersey have suffered under what are without a shadow of a doubt the worst gun laws in the country. Are we really supposed to entertain with a straight face that he has only just come to the conclusion that something needs to be done?

I wrote about Christie’s execrable Second Amendment record two years ago:

The governor not only supported the 1994 federal “assault-weapons” ban, but he did so with an unlovely zeal. While running for the state assembly in 1995, candidate Christie described those who opposed Bill Cinton’s crime bill as “dangerous,” “crazy,” and “radical” people who “must be stopped.” For good measure, he then willfully mischaracterized the soon-to-be-prohibited weapons as “automatic assault weapons,” which they were not. When the worthless federal ban expired in 2004, New Jersey retained its own version. Christie continues to support this, affirming in 2009 that he “supports all current gun laws” in New Jersey.

Christie is no better on other questions. He has consistently opposed concealed-carry laws that are now the norm in all 50 states, writing in 2009 that he “opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey,” and he recently expressed unqualified support for New Jersey’s one-gun-per-month law and called for all pending lawsuits against the rule to be “dismissed.” Until now, Christie has made no bones about his anti-gun positions. In an interview on Sean Hannity’s show in 2009, the governor was asked, “Should every citizen in your state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?” “In New Jersey, that’s not going to happen, Sean,” Christie replied. This, remember, was after the D.C. vs. Heller decision that recognized the obvious truth that the right to bear arms was an individual right.

In the last year or so, Christie has watered down these views very slightly. Now, seven minutes before declaring that he’d very much like to be president, he wants a commission to decide whether the rights of the people are being abridged? Don’t inhale.

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